Dark Tea May Aid Blood Sugar

New research has found that dark tea can aid blood sugar. Daily black tea appears to prevent blood sugar concerns from developing or prevent them from worsening.

Dark tea isn’t a different term for black tea. It has been through microbial fermentation. The tea is rich in antioxidants and may aid the microbiome more than normal tea. It may also boost insulin sensitivity and the productivity of insulin-producing cells.

The research is one of the six major kinds of tea drank in China where the research was performed. While it can be hard to find in stores, you can find dark tea, or pu-erh, through American retailers online.

Researchers from Australia’s Univ. of Adelaide and China’s Southeast Univ. looked at data from almost 2,000 adults in China. About a quarter had minor blood sugar concerns, and a quarter had more serious blood sugar concerns. Around half the people in the study had no blood sugar concerns. They were asked what kind of tea they drank and how much they consumed.

After controlling for lifestyle factors, the researchers saw that drinking tea made a difference. Daily tea drinkers, or any sort of tea, had a 15 percent lower risk of having a mild blood sugar concern and an 18 percent lower risk of a serious blood sugar concern than non-tea drinkers. People who drank dark tea were 53 percent less likely to develop a mild blood sugar concern and 47 percent less likely to develop a serious blood sugar concern than people who didn’t drink tea.

Our findings hint at the protective effects of habitual tea drinking on blood sugar management via increased glucose excretion in urine, improved insulin resistance and, thus, better control of blood sugar,” said co-lead researcher Dr. Tongzhi Wu, an associate professor at the Univ. of Adelaide.

The research was presented at the Annual Meeting of The European Association for the Study of Diabetes.  

Co-lead author Prof. Zilin Sun from Southeast Univ. said, “When you look at all the different biomarkers associated with habitual drinking of dark tea, it may be one simple step people can easily take to improve their diet and health.”

It’s always important to remember that observational studies cannot prove cause and effect; they just show a possible link. This study showed a positive association between tea drinking and blood sugar health. It’s also important to note that the people were all one race living in one country. They were Chinese people living in China. While they were split evenly between men and women and had a wide range of ages, there is no way to know if this positive relationship between tea and health would remain constant for other races in other countries.

But, many other studies have found that different types of tea help blood sugar. We have written about those studies! Tea is also a drink that can help you stay hydrated without adding calories to your day. Most of us should be drinking more water than we do. For many, the problem is that water is boring. Instead of reaching for a sweetened drink when you are thirsty, tea can be a flavorful way to drink more water and potentially aid your blood sugar. At the very least, you won’t be upsetting your blood sugar like you can with many other drinks!  

Banner image: Olga Mironova via Pexels

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