Tea, especially green tea and white tea, has beneficial effects in diabetes patients.
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. ’
AdvertisementThe 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 tea, 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 restricted.
The health 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 sugar 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 patients:
- 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.
- The 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 antioxidant properties, 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 Diabetes Research
- Tea helps to control blood pressure and prevent formation of clots, and therefore reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease in diabetes patients.
- 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.
References: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(2), 19-26
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: 10.1186/2251-6581-12-43
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,
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