Drinking black tea may be beneficial for people with diabetes, as it appears to stimulate an insulin response and reduce blood sugar levels, according to researchers from King‘s College London and the University of Central Lancashire.
Sixteen participants drank glucose in either water, water plus a small amount of caffeine, or water plus instant black tea.
After two hours, plasma glucose concentrations were significantly reduced in those who consumed 1 gram of tea, compared to the plain water and caffeine drinks. Drinking black tea also increased insulin levels compared with the other drinks, after 90 minutes.
Tea’s protective benefits have been linked to polyphenols, including:
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
- Epicatechin gallate
Black tea makes up about 78 percent of the global tea market.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition October 2007 Vol. 26, No. 5, 471-477
- NutraIngredients.com October 24, 2007
Americans drink about 2.25 billion gallons of tea each year -- that’s about 132 cups of tea per person per year. While this sounds like a lot, you may actually need five to 10 cups of most green or black teas a day to reap many of their protective benefits.
Still, one of the active ingredients in tea, epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG), really does show potential to fight a wide range of diseases, including:
help to protect your bones.
I still believe that water should be your beverage of choice, and should make up the majority of your fluid intake, but adding tea to your day is a perfectly sensible choice for an additional beverage.
Do Your Homework on Your Tea Choices
Out of the seemingly endless varieties of tea out there, there are only a small handful that I would recommend drinking.
The first thing to watch out for is fluoride. Many conventional brands contain unsafe amounts of this health-harming chemical that has been linked to osteosarcoma, the most common kind of bone cancer. If you drink tea that is high in fluoride, your risks will outweigh your benefits, so please find a brand that will vouch for its low fluoride content.
You also need to choose tea that is grown in as nutrient-rich and clean a soil as possible. The majority of the world's green teas consumed today come from China, Pakistan, and India, which may have potentially toxic soil conditions.
Also be aware that high-quality green tea should, in fact, look green. If your “green” tea looks brown, it is not a high-quality tea. My current favorite green tea is called Matcha green tea, as it is the highest quality premium green tea and typically is reserved for royal tea ceremonies in Japan.
The other option for those of you looking to get the health benefits of tea without worrying about fluoride or contaminants is to try a high-quality tea extract that is fluoride-free.
Of course, if you decide to drink tea, make sure that you are simply drinking it “straight.” Avoid adding sugar, milk or other unhealthy additions, and certainly stay away from tea energy drinks, which are nothing more than chemical cocktails.