November 7, 2012. An article published online on November 7, 2012 in the journal BMJ Open reveals an association between black tea drinking and a lower incidence of diabetes around the world.
European researchers analyzed prevalence data from the World Health Organization for respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and independently collected sales data for black tea from 50 countries. Countries that sold the most black tea per person included Ireland, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia, and countries with the lowest concentration of black tea drinkers included South Korea, Brazil, China, Venezuela and Mexico.
The researchers observed an association between rising black tea consumption and a decline in diabetes. Black tea consumption was not correlated with the other four diseases. Further statistical analysis confirmed the association. While green tea contains catechins that have anti-inflammatory and other properties, the authors remark that the fermentation process that green tea undergoes to become black tea results in the formation of complex flavonoids known as theaflavins and thearubigins that provide additional health benefits.
"This innovative study establishes a linear statistical correlation between high black tea consumption and low diabetes prevalence in the world," Ariel Beresniak and colleagues write. "These results are consistent with biological and physiological studies conducted on the effect of black tea on diabetes and confirm the results of a previous ecological study in Europe."
Although an association does not establish causality, the results strongly suggest the need for further investigation to explore the possible protective effects of tea drinking against one of the most devastating diseases of our time.
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