Embracing the Season
With winter now in full-swing, many of us in the northern regions are enjoying more quiet time in front of the fire with warm mugs of tea. While I tend to embrace more of the herbal sort, black tea is also a welcome addition during this time — and not just for the flavor. As it turns out, it is an exceedingly healthy drink that is brimming with antioxidants and other compounds that help to boost cardiovascular and gut health, lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of cancer, and more. Black tea is the world’s most beloved beverage for good reason! In this post we will have a look at how it can not only bring us pleasure during this wintry season, but also robust health benefits.
Blood Sugar Control
Interestingly, several studies have suggested that black tea may be helpful in reducing the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance. A randomized control trial published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined if drinking black tea may improve postprandial glycemic control (blood sugar levels after eating).1 A sugar solution along with either a low or high dose of black tea or placebo was given to males and females aged 20-60 years. They were split between those who had normal sugar metabolism and others that were pre diabetic. The group who was given either the low or high dose black tea experienced significantly lower blood sugar levels after the meal compared those in the placebo group.
Another study found that drinking black tea enhanced the effectiveness of insulin in obese men with insulin resistance. The participants were given 75g of glucose along with either black tea, beetroot juice, or water. Those in the black tea group experienced approximately 29% lower insulin response compared to those who drank water.2
Of course, to maximize the blood sugar benefits of black tea, it is important to avoid adding sweeteners that will aggravate the condition. Instead, opt for monk fruit or stevia. The same holds true for purchasing sweetened tea products.
High in Beneficial Antioxidants
A diet rich in antioxidants is one of the foundations of good health as these compounds help to protect against chronic disease — including cancer, heart disease, obesity, stroke, and, as we have seen, diabetes.3,4,5. While both black and green tea have similar benefits and antioxidant profiles, the oxidation process of black tea gives it unique health benefits.
The main antioxidants found in black tea are polyphenols, such as catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins. These help to protect cells, reduce inflammation, support the immune system, and combat disease-promoting free radicals.
And what about decaf tea?6 It depends on the process used to remove the caffeine. If it utilizes chemicals, up to 70% of the antioxidants can be lost. However, a natural water process will only reduce the antioxidant levels by 5%, helping to preserve the health benefits. It is also important to enjoy only organic tea to avoid the high pesticide use of conventional crops.
The same polyphenols in black tea that protect against disease also have been shown to encourage the growth of “good” bacteria while inhibiting the “bad” bacteria in the gut.7 Black tea may also help to repair the lining of the digestive tract due to the presence of tannins. These include the polyphenol compounds theaflavins and thearubigins. What’s more, tannins are known to help ease the symptoms of diarrhea.
If you are struggling with a health condition and suspect you may need additional support, my apothecary has a range of potent herbal extracts that can help.
Our Balanced Gut Blend is outstanding for addressing digestive complaints, leaky gut, and inflammation. It contains a powerfully effective blend of reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms, plus plantain, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. This formulation cools inflammation and repairs the intestinal tract to restore healthy gut function.
Need extra help in managing your blood sugar? Have a look at our Heart, Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Bundle in the apothecary.
I formulated this convenient bundle to help regulate blood glucose levels, improve brain function, lower LDL cholesterol, and fortify heart health. It contains dual-extracted, spagyric tinctures of cordyceps, reishi, and turkey tail mushrooms for blood sugar regulation, improved circulation, lower inflammation, and enhanced cognitive health. It also includes our potent lemon balm tincture for blood sugar control, anxiety relief, and lowering blood pressure.
Interested in learning more about these science-backed formulations? Visit the apothecary today. Here’s to your good health!
Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post
- Butacnum, A., Chongsuwat, R., & Bumrungpert, A. (2017). Black tea consumption improves postprandial glycemic control in normal and pre-diabetic subjects: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 26(1), 59–64. https://doi.org/10.6133/apjcn.112015.08
- Fuchs, D., Nyakayiru, J., Draijer, R., Mulder, T. P., Hopman, M. T., Eijsvogels, T. M., & Thijssen, D. H. (2016). Impact of flavonoid-rich black tea and beetroot juice on postprandial peripheral vascular resistance and glucose homeostasis in obese, insulin-resistant men: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition & metabolism, 13, 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-016-0094-x
- Imran, A., Butt, M. S., Arshad, M. S., Arshad, M. U., Saeed, F., Sohaib, M., & Munir, R. (2018). Exploring the potential of black tea based flavonoids against hyperlipidemia related disorders. Lipids in health and disease, 17(1), 57. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-018-0688-6
- Nagao, T., Komine, Y., Soga, S., Meguro, S., Hase, T., Tanaka, Y., & Tokimitsu, I. (2005). Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 81(1), 122–129. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/81.1.122
- Vinson, J. A., Teufel, K., & Wu, N. (2004). Green and black teas inhibit atherosclerosis by lipid, antioxidant, and fibrinolytic mechanisms. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 52(11), 3661–3665. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf035255l
- Diane McKay, PhD. (2018) Does Decaffeinated Black Tea Have the Same Benefits? Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter. September 17, 2019. Retrieved on December 23, 2022, from: https://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/general-nutrition/does-decaffeinated-black-tea-have-the-same-benefits/
- Wan, M. L. Y., Co, V. A., & El-Nezami, H. (2021). Dietary polyphenol impact on gut health and microbiota. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 61(4), 690–711. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2020.1744512