Black Tea for Diabetes
Tea in general is healthy for you, but has excellent properties in fighting diabetes. The answers as to how black tea helps lower your blood sugar will be explored. The famed nerve maester illustrious for its calming abilities, revered for its eclectic taste and renowned for its prowess as a proven mind, body and soul beverage.
From oolong, to white, to green, to even yellow tea (I wonder why there isn’t a rainbow colored tea!), the varieties of tea are as endless as time. However, amongst these holy classes, there stands one that sometimes supersedes them all: Black Tea.
The class of black tea is one that has earned its place as the ultimate tea supreme in the classification of tea. However, this article is not entirely about the nuances of tea (or the power tussle between its various members for that matter!).
This article is about the diabetic horde and the possible ways certain substances affect the equilibrium of a diabetic’s body; and this is why we have brought in the very context of our dear tea ninja.
How exactly does black tea affect diabetes? Are there any side effects of consuming black tea? How best can I consume black tea as a diabetic? If you’ve ever asked these questions (or perhaps you haven’t), then your eyes are glancing along the right lines. So without further ado, let’s delve right in to this very tea-sy essence.
What is Black Tea & Where Did it Come From?
Before we can begin the discussion on the diabetic compatibility of black tea, we need to start off with some fundamental base knowledge. For starters, what EXACTLY is black tea? How is black tea prepared? Where can I find black tea? These are just a few of the questions we need to understand before we plunge into the discussion for this read.
So, what IS black tea? Black tea is a type of tea (if you don’t know, tea is a beverage that is prepared by taking boiling water and pouring it over cured leaves of the Camellia sinesis, an evergreen shrub) which comes about when tea leaves are allowed to fully oxidize before they are heat processed and dried.
Basically, when tea leaves interact with oxygen, the tea plant’s cell walls turn a rich dark brown/black color, which when associated with boiling or hot water gives a black-colored beverage.
Now that we know what black tea is, we can go on to answer the next question: ‘Where did Black tea come from?’
Black tea, also known as “red tea” was discovered in China in the mid-17th century. Before the discovery of Black tea, green and oolong tea were the predominant types of tea consumed.
The story goes that an army in the Jiangxi Chinese province entered somewhere called the Fujian province and camped at a nearby tea making factory.
The people who were working inside the tea factory didn’t expect such an unscheduled visit. As a result, there was a delay in tea production and the tea leaves were laid out in the sun for a lot longer than was the norm for regular tea making.
This prolonged drying (which is the full oxidation we talked about in the first paragraph) caused the tea leaves to turn a very dark color. The tea factory workers then saw this and tried to “save” the tea.
A farmer in the factory placed the leaves over a fire of pine wood, which resulted in a tea that was smoky in flavor. This discovery produced Lapsang Souchonng (don’t bite your tongue pronouncing this), the original black tea that paved the way for the black tea growth in China and consequently the entire planet. So who exactly do you have to thank for the emergence of black tea?: An unexpected army, a farmer and a dash of serendipity!!
How Does Black Tea Affect Diabetics?
A couple of years back, a group of very talented people (some refer to them as scientists, others call them nut jobs) carried out a study on a collection of rats. They induced diabetes mellitus in a bunch of rats and studied them to come about some general conclusions which they could extend to human patients.
They evaluated the effects of the hot water extract of black tea in these rats and the results they obtained were jaw-dropping. The extract significantly reduced the blood glucose levels of the rats and was found to possess both PREVENTIVE and CURATIVE effects on experimentally produced diabetes in rats. Wow!
Let’s talk a bit about what’s INSIDE black tea (I promise, this won’t be technical). As we’ve already established, Black tea (as well as Green and Oolong teas) are made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea, which is not as fully oxidized as black tea, contains simple antioxidants like flavonoids and catechins.
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In the process of making black tea, the catechins convert to very complicated flavonoids known as theaflavins and thearubigens. Research has shown that these complicated forms of flavonoids do something extraordinary to the human body. These components possess anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancer and even anti-hyperglycemic potential.
What this means is, the complex components that make up black tea have the ability to substantially reduce glucose levels in cases of unusually high blood sugar activity, by blocking carbohydrate absorption.
And you know what? That’s not all there is to black tea! Additional studies have equally shown that black tea affects insulin sensitivity. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which occurs when we stop being sensitive to insulin.
Not being sensitive to insulin means that the pancreas has to undertake the tiring job of producing more and more insulin, which can destroy insulin producing cells over time. Several studies have shown that our dear friends, the theaflavins and thearubigens can influence insulin sensitivity and plays a vital part in regulating blood sugar.
The flavonoids in black tea also play an important role in regulating cholesterol and blood pressure. High blood pressure affects eight out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes and three out of 10 people with type 1 diabetes. Also, because of the complex components of black tea, black tea can also improve heart health and greatly reduce the effects of stroke, which is a common complication in diabetic patients.
For instance, one study followed 74,961 people for over 10 years. It found that those who drank four or more cups of black tea per day had a 32% lower risk of stroke than those who did not drink black tea!! Amazing!
Did you also know that Black tea has the capacity to improve your gut health? I bet you didn’t. The polyphenols found in black tea may help maintain a healthy gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria such as Salmonella.
In addition, black tea contains antimicrobial properties that kill of harmful substances and improve gut bacteria and immunity by helping repair the lining of the digestive tract. Wow! With all these amazing benefits of black tea, the entire planet should be drinking the stuff! In my mind, black tea has become the new doc!!
How to Make Black Tea
Black tea is just about the simplest thing to make. The process doesn’t involve strenuous recipes or difficult steps. It literally takes you less than 5 minutes to make a cup of delicious black tea.
To make black tea, the most essential ingredient is good ol’ water. Boil some water and simply add some black tea leaves or a black tea bag (which you can easily get from most stores). After adding the tea bag or tea leaves, let the tea rest for about 3 minutes, depending on your taste preference.
For stronger tasting tea, you can use more tea leaves or leave your tea bag to sit for a longer time period. The last step is your taste buds! All you have to do after step 2 is allow your taste buds bask in the ethereal euphoria of your black tea!
So how good is black tea for diabetes? Black Tea is a fantastic and inexpensive option for blood sugar regulation and diabetic complication management. A surreal blend of low-calorie, zero sugar and low caffeine components, black tea is by far one of the most important weapons you can add to your diet arsenal.
With a wide range of anti-disease and stress reducing antioxidants, black tea provides a host of health benefits which can mean the difference between a long, fulfilling life and a short one. With the increase of diabetes and its associated complications on the rise, the world could be seeing a revolution in the way it treats and manages the risks of diabetes through natural remedies like black tea.
So now that we’ve plunged into the very nuances of black tea, I conclude by posing this question: “Why aren’t you drinking a mug of black tea right now?”
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