Bigelow Tea Health Article Black Tea Consumption Linked to Low Diabetes Rates

Black Tea Consumption Linked to Low Diabetes Rates by Annie Hauser, Everyday Health Staff Writer

Countries where people drink a lot of black tea have a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes, a new analysis finds.

black-tea-diebetes-risk-articleTHURSDAY, Nov. 8, 2012 - The more black tea the people of a country drink, the lower type 2 diabetes rates are across the nation, according to a mathematical analysis of data from 50 countries published in the journal BMJ Open.


Researchers from the Swiss statistical firm Data Mining International analyzed health data from countries participating in the World Health Organization's World Health Survey to identify the relationship between black tea and key health indicators, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and infectious diseases. While they found a very high correlation between black-tea drinking and low diabetes incidence, consumption of the beverage was not linked to decreased risk for any other major health indicator.

Topping the table for black tea consumption was Ireland, where each person drinks more than 2 kg of tea per year, closely followed by the United Kingdom and Turkey. South Korea, Brazil, China, Morocco, and Mexico on the black tea scale.

Tea and the Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic

Previous research has linked green tea's anti-inflammatory properties to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. Green tea's power comes from flavonoids called catechins. Black tea, which often starts with the same tea leaves and goes through a slightly different fermentation process, contains complex flavonoids called theaflavins and thearubigins, which researchers believe produce its health benefits.

Rates of type 2 diabetes have increased six-fold over the past 30 years, the International Diabetes Federation reports, noting that rates of diabetes are increasing in nearly every country. Over the next 20 years, estimates are that the number of people with diabetes will rise from 285 million to 438 million across the globe. By 2030, an additional 900 million people will be at a high risk for diabetes. Because type 2 diabetes doubles a person's risk for heart disease, among other life-threatening complications, this increase will be devastating for global health, researchers note.

Authors warn that a positive effect of black tea at the population level might not translate to an individual effect. Although they found a link between black tea consumption and lower diabetes prevalence, they are not claiming a cause-and-effect relationship.


Posted 1/14/14


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