It has long been claimed that green tea offers significant benefits in things like sharpening your mental prowess. It’s even been reported as a deterrent to cancer. But tea, especially green tea, may offer powerful health benefits for diabetics, too. Here are 6 life-changing ways tea helps diabetics.
Green tea has been around for many centuries, and today it’s the second most popular drink in the world after water. It was only as an adult that I discovered it—tea was a strange and uncommon drink in my family. Today, it’s one of my favorite beverages, and that’s a good thing because of my diabetes.
What makes it so beneficial for diabetics
is its ability to sensitize cells so they
are better able to metabolize sugar.
In 2013, a research study in The Diabetes and Metabolism Journal gained lots of attention with its findings on the benefits of tea for both diabetes and obesity, a risk factor for diabetes. That review shared that Japanese participants who drank 6 or more cups of green tea a day were 33 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than were people who drank less than a cup of green tea per week.
Note: taken in excess, green tea is also a major source of oxalate, which can cause kidney stones. Many experts advise drinking no more than 5 cups per day. Even at that amount, you’ll still see positive results.
In addition, the study also found that drinking green tea for more than 10 years tended to result in smaller waists and lower body fat composition than found in people who weren’t regular tea drinkers.
Why Does Tea Have These Effects?
It’s all due to something called polyphenols, an antioxidant found in every tea leaf. These polyphenols reduce oxidative stress and widen the arteries, both of which lead to a lower blood pressure, less tendency for blood clotting, and lower cholesterol. That’s good news for your heart health, something every diabetic must pay close attention to, and it’s good news for your diabetes in general.
Will Just Any Tea do?
According to the researchers, all teas have a certain amount of benefits for diabetics, but green tea apparently outdoes the others. There are more polyphenols in green tea than, for example, black tea. The bright colors in fruits and vegetables comes from the amount of polyphenols they contain, so since green tea has more color than black color, it is relatively more beneficial.
One reason for this advantage enjoyed by green tea may be explained in the different ways that green and black tea are processed. Green tea is prepared from unfermented leaves. Black tea is made from fully fermented leaves, which robs it of some nutrients. Additionally, green tea can have ½ to 1/3 the amount of caffeine, which is another advantage in its favor.
6 Ways You Benefit from Tea
If you’re a diabetic or pre-diabetic, you could enjoy at least 6 important benefits by adding tea to your daily diet.
- Increased sensitivity to insulin
As diabetics, we tend to resist insulin. That means our pancreas has to produce more and more insulin in an attempt to overcome the resistance, and that in turn means insulin-producing cells are damaged over time. Tea makes the body less resistant to insulin, which helps relieve stress on the pancreas. (BTW, avoid milk with your tea, researchers say.)
- Lower blood pressure
Approximately 8 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes suffer from high blood pressure. Both green and black tea help keep your blood pressure at a healthier level. As little as a half cup of green tea per day lowered the risk of high blood pressure by 50%, according to one study of Chinese tea drinkers.
- Lower risk of heart disease
Eighty percent of diabetics die from heart disease. Researchers have found that drinking tea can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Green tea was shown to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, leading to better heart health.
- Less risk of type 2 diabetes
For both diabetics and pre-diabetics, 3-4 cups of green or black tea per day can have positive effects. Considering the short and long term effects of this devastating disease, the positive results from drinking tea are well worth your consideration.
- Less risk of cancer
As diabetics, we all face a higher risk of cancer, especially pancreatic, liver and endometrial cancer. For the reasons stated above, drinking tea could reduce this risk.
- Lower stress levels
You might think that the very process of sipping a nice hot tea will reduce your stress (and it well could!), but it doesn’t hurt that tea contains theanine, an amino acid that controls blood pressure levels and lowers stress. That’s good for diabetics because when we’re feeling stressed, hormones like cortisol cause our blood glucose levels to rise.
Check out this great little video from DoctorSaputo.com.
Great info from a doctor’s perspective…
Bottom Line: Enjoy some nice hot (or iced) tea.
I’ve been working on transitioning to tea from coffee. I enjoy the taste of both, but the health benefits of tea over coffee are just too significant to continue coffee alone. My personal preference is for green tea, but you might also look at black or oolong tea.
How about you? Are you a coffee drinker or tea drinker? Which do you prefer? Have any of the stats or links in this post helped change your beverage of choice?
Share your comments with our readers!