Tea has a unique place in culture and social circles. It originated
in the east in China, from where it spread to the western world. The British
added milk and sugar to tea, which changed the way tea is consumed in several
parts of the world.
‘Tea offers health benefits related to diabetes especially green and white tea. The tea helps the metabolic system function better.
The tea plant is scientifically known as Camellia sinensis
. Tea shrubs give a luxuriant green color to cool
hilly regions. Un-oxidized tea leaves are used to make green
, partially oxidized leaves are used for oolong tea, while
oxidized leaves are used to make black tea. Very immature tea leaves and buds
are used to make white tea. Black tea has higher levels of caffeine as compared to
green and white tea
, and therefore its consumption may have to be
benefits of tea
have been known
from time immemorial. Majority of its benefits are due to its antioxidant
content. Tea contains the polyphenol antioxidants epicatechin, epicatechin
gallate, epigallocatechin and epigallocatechin gallate.
Tea has special benefits in diabetes
patients. It helps to keep the levels of blood
under control, prevents complications and reduces the need for
anti-diabetes medications. Though green tea is very popular for its health benefits
white tea is particularly beneficial for diabetes patients. It goes without
mentioning that diabetes patients should drink sugarless tea.
Listed below are some of the reasons why tea is good for diabetes
- Tea increases insulin sensitivity,
and thereby reduces blood glucose levels. In patients with diabetes, the effect
of insulin on the cells is less. Therefore, cells of the body do not take up
enough glucose from the blood, which results in an increase in blood glucose
levels. Tea reverses this effect to some extent.
antioxidant properties of tea reduce blood cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels in the
blood can clog arteries, and cause heart disease. By reducing blood cholesterol
levels, tea lowers the chances of heart disease in diabetes patients in whom
the risk is generally high.
- Patients of diabetes have high
levels of oxidants called reactive oxygen species, which damage tissues and
result in complications related to the eye, blood vessels, nerves etc. With its
tea can neutralize the reactive oxygen species and prevent diabetes-related
complications. Consumption of Chinese green tea was found to be beneficial in
prevention of diabetic
retinopathy in diabetic patients, says study published in Journal of
- Tea helps to control blood pressure and prevent
formation of clots, and therefore reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease in diabetes
- Tea reduces digestion and absorption
of carbohydrates from the intestines by blocking enzymes responsible for the
digestion. This results in lower blood glucose levels.
- Tea can be used as a
substitute for sugary beverages. It is not only pleasant to taste but also
relaxing and keeps our minds alert.
It is also important to note that while tea is beneficial in
diabetes, it cannot replace diabetes medications
. Therefore, continue taking
your medications and enjoy your hot cup of tea as well.
1. T. R. Dias, et al. (2013) White Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.)):
Antioxidant Properties and Beneficial Health Effects. Int J Food Sci Nutr Diet.
2. Zahra Bahadoran, Parvin Mirmiran and Fereidoun Azizi. Dietary
polyphenols as potential nutraceuticals in management of diabetes: a review.
Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders2013;12:43. DOI:
3. Tachebele B, Abebe M, Birhan W, Addis Z. Health Benefits of Green
Tea with Emphasis on Diabetes Mellitus. American Journal of Food and Nutrition 2.5 (2014): 85-91.
4. Ma Q, Chen D, Sun H, Yan N, Xu Y, Pan C. Regular Chinese Green Tea
Consumption Is Protective for Diabetic Retinopathy: A Clinic-Based Case-Control Study. Journal of Diabetes Research Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 231570,