Nearly 10 percent of people in the United States have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Foundation.
When you have diabetes, life becomes all about regulating your blood sugar to stay healthy. And while many must turn to medication and insulin injections, there is evidence to suggest that drinking green tea could make diabetes management easier.
Several studies have pointed to green tea as a potentially effective method of controlling diabetes, and even improving insulin sensitivity. Just how it works isn’t completely clear, but it’s believed catechins within the tea — also responsible for its
When you eat foods with carbohydrates, they are digested into sugar. In response, the pancreas releases insulin to help cells absorb glucose to be used as fuel. However, when you have diabetes, the process is hindered.
People with type 2 diabetes have cells that are desensitized to insulin, which is known as insulin resistance. This, and the fact that the pancreas often stops releasing enough insulin, makes their blood sugar levels difficult to control.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease; the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are attacked and killed by the body’s immune system, and simply do not produce insulin at all.
Most studies on the effects of green tea in people with diabetes have focused on type 2 diabetes, as it is more common, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of the diabetes seen in the United States.
There are indications that green tea can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. According to
But tea’s benefits don’t stop at prevention. For people already diagnosed with diabetes, green tea may be able to help manage blood sugar levels.
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine suggests that the antioxidant activity of polyphenols and polysaccharides are to credit for these benefits. These same antioxidants
If you have diabetes and want to reap the potential benefits of green tea, steer clear of additions that can cause blood glucose changes. It’s best to drink the mild-tasting tea plain, instead of diluting it with milk or sweetening it with sugar.
Teabags are just fine (loose leaf is best), but if you want to enjoy a fresher, green flavor, you can buy traditional matcha green tea online and in specialty shops. Matcha is a green tea powder, traditionally used in Chinese tea ceremonies. It is prepared with a small bowl and bamboo whisk, though a spoon or wire whisk can work in a pinch. Because the tea is more concentrated in a matcha powder, you may reap additional benefits over bagged green tea.