Spilling the Tea: How to Prevent and Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking tea for diabetes may be a lesser-known lifestyle choice, but the history of tea and its healing properties go as far back as 2737 BC. Legend says that Chinese emperor Chen Nung was sipping hot water under the shade of a tree when a few leaves blew into his drink and steeped to create a delicious taste.

It turns out Chen Nung was a renowned herbalist and decided to experiment with the infusion, thus creating tea. Since then, it’s been dumped into harbors, presented as a delicacy to royal guests, and studies have recently found that it can aid in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Tea for Type 2 Diabetes

how tea for diabetes to helps with prevention and management

Type 2 diabetes, often associated with obesity, occurs when cells have become insulin resistant and don’t allow adequate amounts of sugar to enter. As a consequence, blood sugar levels in the bloodstream rise. According to new studies, through a complex biochemical reaction, tea helps sensitize cells to insulin, making them able to metabolize sugar. In essence, it helps the metabolic system function better.

A 2013 research review published in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal highlighted a Japanese study that found that people who drank six 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 a week. Researcher in Taiwan found that people who consumed green tea regularly for more than a decade had smaller waists and a lower body fat composition than those who didn’t.

What is it that makes tea for diabetes a great resource for people who have been diagnosed with, or are predisposed to the condition? It contains substances called polyphenols, antioxidants found in every plant. Polyphenols reduce oxidative stress and cause arteries to widen which decreases blood pressure, prevents clotting and reduces cholesterol. All of these activities reduce the risk for heart disease, which is elevated in people with diabetes. Polyphenols in green tea can also help regulate glucose in the body, helping to prevent or control diabetes.

Polyphenols can also be found in a number of foods including berries, grapes, apples and pomegranates. You can tell they’re high in polyphenols because of their rich color. Broccoli, onions, garlic, tomatoes, eggplant and spinach are also good sources, as are cranberries, blood oranges, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, lemons, limes, and kiwis. Good news for wine drinkers — red wine contains resveratrol, a type of polyphenol. The highest concentration of resveratrol is found in Bordeaux.

There are other ways, aside from drinking tea and eating foods high in polyphenols, to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. Eating minimal amounts of processed food and replacing it with fresh vegetables and fruits can help with managing the disease and promote weight loss. Avoiding smoking and alcohol intake while incorporating more physical activity into the day is another way to control type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Best Tea for Diabetes

types of tea for diabetes

Green tea is consumed on a daily basis in dozens of countries worldwide. Green tea is minimally processed and is usually not oxidized at all. Because of this, the various chemical compounds are highly reserved and are processed by the body much easier. Polyphenols in green tea have been shown to affect the way the body metabolizes food by inhibiting the enzyme amylase, which is primarily responsible for turning carbohydrates into simple sugars (glucose).

Green tea has also been shown to inhibit fat from being deposited in your body. Both these factors can help to delay weight gain, and assist your body with metabolizing food. For those with type 2 diabetes, green tea can help reduce the sharp peaks in blood sugar that overload your system with insulin after you eat.

Black tea is from the same plant as green tea. Unlike green teas, black tea has been oxidized using heat and humidity to change its color, texture and flavor. Drinking black tea will help to slow weight gain in the same way as green tea, and contains many of the same polyphenols.

Black tea stands apart from green tea in the higher levels of polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that slows the absorption of glucose, stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Oolong tea fall between black and green tea in its levels of polysaccharides, polyphenols and caffeine. Oolong tea specifically has been shown to lower plasma glucose levels.

Rooibos is also known as bush tea and comes from the Aspalathus linearis bush native to southern Africa. It makes a very mild tasting drink with little to no bitterness, owing to its lack of tannins, and contains no caffeine. Rooibos has antioxidants similar to those found in black and green tea.

Several tests on rats using rooibos found that those who consumed the beverage showed improvement in vision and vascular health, two areas which can be adversely affected by the side effects of type 2 diabetes.

Consult your doctor before adding tea for diabetes to your diet, as a number of plants used in herbal teas can have interactions or negative side effects, depending on your overall health. It’s also important to note the area a tea is sourced from can have a dramatic effect on its chemical composition because of variations in strain and processing methods from country to country, or even region to region.

Read more from MedTruth about diabetes.

Tess Francke

Tess Francke is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist who has spent her career at the intersection of media, writing, design and health research. You will find her other byline in the National Foundation for Cancer Research blog and Research to Remission quarterly oncology magazine. She is a proud Detroit native with the mission is to facilitate the vital connection between populations and health information. She loves teaching fitness classes and her daily yoga practice.

Originally published at https://medtruth.com on January 16, 2019.




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