Long known for its antioxidants, immune boosting and, most recently, antihypertensive properties, black tea could have another health benefit. Black tea may be used to control diabetes, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.
Next to water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. Researchers from the Tianjin Key Laboratory in China studied the polysaccharide levels of green, oolong and black teas and whether they could be used to treat diabetes. Polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that includes starch and cellulose, may benefit people with diabetes because they help retard absorption of glucose.
The researchers found that of the three teas, the polysaccharides in black tea had the most glucose-inhibiting properties. The black tea polysaccharides also showed the highest scavenging effect on free radicals, which are involved in the onset of diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
“Many efforts have been made to search for effective glucose inhibitors from natural materials,” says lead researcher Haixia Chen. “There is a potential for exploitation of black tea polysaccharide in managing diabetes.”
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