Black Tea Benefits Lower Blood Sugar Levels
When next you have the chance to try black tea... forget the 5,000 years of use in China and think instead about the many health benefits the Black Tea might bring to your body, which now include lower blood sugar levels.
You've probably heard about black tea improves immunity and heart health, now research appearing in the June 30, 2009 issue of the Journal of Food Science, adds diabetes treatment to the list of ailments where a cup of dark tea (without milk or sugar) could be just what you need.
The recent work out of Tianjin University in China found that black tea contains a substance that works just like oral medications Precose and Glyset - prescription drugs currently used to control blood sugar levels for patients with type 2 diabetes.
The naturally occurring polysaccharide compound in black tea is at levels higher than in either green or oolong tea.
Haixia Chen and colleagues report that the polysaccharides found in black tea restrict the activity of an enzyme known as alpha-glucosidase that changes starches to sugar.
This is how the prescription drugs work also.
"Many efforts have been made to search for effective glucose inhibitors from natural materials," Chen explains. "There is a potential for exploitation of black tea polysaccharide in managing diabetes."
Research has shown for some time that polysaccharides might be of value to those with diabetes because they help stop the absorption of sugar. According to the team, the black variety of tea was also found to have the best scavenging effect on free radicals, those worrisome compounds believed by many to be involved in the development of cancer and other diseases.
So can you drink black tea in place of an oral diabetic medication?
No - Never make a change like this in your treatment without talking with your own doctor.
Chen's team can't say for sure that just drinking the tea would be enough. The study used chemical extraction techniques, not the brewing as you might at home, to get the polysaccharides from the teas they'd bought at local markets.
Traditional teas come from the same plant. It's actually the amount of processing that makes the difference in the color, the black having oxidized (interacted with oxygen until the leaves darkened) as it goes through all the steps in the tea making process. Traditional processing of the black variety is not anything like fermenting, there's no yeast involved, just the tea leaves and oxygen.
It's important to know that because of the way black tea is processed, it does have a much higher caffeine content than the other teas - green, white or oolong. One cup of black tea has about 50 milligrams of caffeine compared to coffee, which has from 65 to 175 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
In fact, in many parts of the world tea, not coffee is used as the wake-me-up at the start of the day.
You can buy teas at most grocery stores, or try the organic brands from online (or local) natural health food sources.
Black varieties can be packaged as a single tea or as part of a blend - you'll be amazed at the many choices. You'll want to try several brands to find the flavor and depth of color you like best, and be sure to brew the leaves lose in a nice, pot-bellied teapot so they can unfurl all the way to create a drink that's robust and delicious, and very likely good for you too!
The black tea benefits are certainly impressive, and with this research we could be close to another breakthrough for regulating blood sugar levels.
Next just head on over to the Daily Health Bulletin for more information on the benefits of black tea and how they can affect your health. For a limited time you can grab 5 FREE essential health reports...
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