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Diet plays a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing with certain foods known to reduce the risk of some conditions, while others raise the risk.
What we drink can also have a major influence on our bodies.
A new study has found that a certain hot drink can slash the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost half.
Research, presented at this year’s Annual Meeting of The European Association for the Study of Diabetes, found that people who drink dark tea daily lower their chances of the serious condition by 47 percent.
It also lowered the chances of becoming prediabetic by 53 percent.
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Dark tea, also known as fermented tea, is different from the standard tea we consume in the UK.
It is popular in China and other countries in Asia but can be bought in specialist shops in the UK or online.
Scientists, from the University of Adelaide in Australia and Southeast University in China, revealed that the hot beverage increases glucose excretion in urine, improving insulin resistance and therefore better control of blood sugar.
This could be linked to the unique way dark tea is produced.
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They found that the fermentation process may yield unique bioactive compounds including alkaloids, free amino acids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and their derivatives.
These all exhibit potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and improve insulin sensitivity.
But the effects are also present to a lesser extent in other teas.
Associate Professor Tongzhi Wu from Adelaide University said: “The substantial health benefits of tea, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, have been reported in several studies over recent years, but the mechanisms underlying these benefits have been unclear.
“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.
“These benefits were most pronounced among daily dark tea drinkers.”
He added: “Indeed, there are quite some confusions about the differences between black tea and dark tea, particularly from the Western consumers’ point of view.
“The classification of tea in Asia (China) is based on the respective processing method.
“For example, green does not involve fermentation. A distinct feature of dark tea, relative to other tea (black tea), is the involvement of microbial organisms in the fermentation process.”
The study included 1,923 adults (562 men,1,361 women aged between 20 and 80) in China.
Of these, 436 participants were living with diabetes and 352 with prediabetes, and 1,135 had normal blood glucose levels.
They were asked about the frequency and type of tea consumption – including dark tea, black, green or other.
Compared to people who never drank tea, those who consumed any type of tea had a 28 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes and a 15 percent lower risk for prediabetes.
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