People have been drinking tea for ages, and in this century it has become the second most popular drink in the world, preceded only by water.
But even though there have already been many health benefits connected to tea, more and more seem to be appearing with each passing day!
And one of the most important ones is that it helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, due to its ability to improve insulin sensitivity.
However, researchers have stated that we would be getting the most of these benefits if we drink our tea without anything added to it, especially milk or sugar.
This is coming from a 2002 American study that found that adding milk to tea reduced the insulin-sensitizing properties tea naturally offers.
Let Us Number a Few Other Benefits That Regular Tea Drinking Can Offer
- Maintains blood pressure’s health;
- Prevents blood from clotting;
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease;
- Reduces the risk of developing cancer;
- Sharpens mental health.
It has already been confirmed that those who have diabetes have problems metabolizing sugar. This is where green tea displays its awesomeness: it has the power to sensitize the cells, and that way improves their ability to metabolize sugar.
The key here is the biochemical reaction that occurs. Furthermore, every tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which can be found in any plant. They help in the reduction of oxidative stress and cause widening of the arteries (known as vasodilation).
All this leads to a decrease in blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and the prevention of clotting. They are also known to protect us from carcinogens and any inflammation.
On top of all that, they also have the potential to regulate the glucose levels in our body and lower the risk of heart disease, which is higher in individuals with diabetes. But green tea is especially beneficial for those with this chronic condition, in that it aids the functioning of the metabolic system.
All this according to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, cardiologist, director of women’s heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC.
So, Green or Black?
Drinking any sort of tea would benefit everyone. Those especially high in polyphenols are green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. But in their case, green tea is clearly the champion.
When answering the question of which tea is healthier – green or black – Dr. Steinbaum said there was no competition –Green wins every time. She claimed there are many reasons for that. One is that green tea contains more polyphenols than black.
A golden rule to explain this is that the lighter the tea, the more polyphenols we can count on. Why? Because every tea with bright colors is due to the fruits and vegetables in it. When it comes to black tea, the more orange the hue, the more polyphenols it has.
But it’s not just the color that marks green tea as a winner here.
She further mentioned that another reason why green tea contains higher polyphenol levels is cause it is ‘truly pure’ since it’s made from unfermented leaves. Black tea can’t boast in the same way since it’s prepared from fully fermented leaves, which rob it of some vital nutrients.
Further proof of why green is better than black, is that some variations of black tea contain as much as three times more caffeine. And anything in excess is no good.
The Diabetes and Metabolism Journal had published a research review in 2013, in which the pros that tea can offer against the chronic condition are stated.
It also mentioned a Japanese study that proved that people who drank six cups of green tea daily had their risk of developing type 2 diabetes lowered by 33%.
It also called upon Taiwanese research which discovered that people who were long-time consumers of this potent drink had lower body fat levels than those who weren’t.
But Let Us Turn Our Attention Away From Tea for the Moment
While drinking tea is clearly a good choice due to its many benefits, it is not the only thing that can help us fight and prevent this chronic disease. There are plenty of foods that are pretty highly stocked with those ever-so-useful polyphenols.
The fruits which are the highest on this list are grapes, pomegranates, berries, and apples. The reason is their rich color. But there are also plenty of others, such as garlic, onions, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and eggplant.
But let us not forget blackberries, blood oranges, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, limes, kiwis, and lemons. Yes, that sure is a lot. But in this case, the more, the merrier.
Other Types of Drinks As Well
But there are also other types of drinks, such as wine, for example. Dr. Steinbaum claims that the highest concentration of polyphenols is in Bordeaux. Red wine, in general, contains resveratrol, which is a polyphenol in itself.
But there’s also coffee! According to a Dutch study back in 2009, coffee is a decent replacement should we not have any tea around. It turns out drinking 3 cups of coffee (though tea is advisable) can lead to a 40% less chance of type 2 diabetes danger.
And let us not forget cocoa. What is better than to hear we have a good reason to nibble on some dark chocolate from time to time?
There is something for everyone as vegetarians seeking to eat polyphenol-rich foods can enjoy pinto beans, black beans, red beans, walnuts, pistachios, chickpeas as well as any type of nut butter. All of these also contain plenty of protein.
Here Are A Few Other Things We Can Do
We went through the list of food and drinks which help prevent and manage this serious condition, but let’s look at some other factors at play here:
- Be more active every day;
- Creating a healthy habit of eating veggies each day;
- Try to limit the alcohol intake;
- Quit smoking;
- Eat as little processed foods as possible.
When it comes to what we can do to keep something like this disease at bay, this is pretty much all we need to do. We wish everyone plenty of luck and hope they make the right and healthy lifestyle choices.
Sources: Diabetes; Everyday Health