With the beautiful warm weather, many people are finding themselves relaxing in the sun outside drinking water. But another great beverage to drink that is refreshing, tasty, and healthy for you is tea! Tea has been cultivated for centuries, beginning in India and China. Today, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Hundreds of millions of people drink tea, and studies suggest that green tea in particular has many health benefits and may lower your risk for cancer, high cholesterol and Parkinson’s disease.
The most popular types of tea are black, green, white and oolong teas. All these colorful tea types come from the same tea plant called Camellia sinensis. The degree of processing of the leaves of this plant determines if the tea will be green, black or oolong. These teas from the Camellia plant are rich in polyphenols, which give each tea its antioxidant properties which can help fight disease and maintain good health. Drinking a couple cups of tea daily might be good for your heart, cholesterol, bones, digestion and keep you relaxed.
But what about drinking green tea and having diabetes? Diabetics can safely drink green tea, but they should carefully monitor their blood sugar levels because of the potential blood sugar-lowering effect of green tea.
Green Tea and Type 1 Diabetes: A study using mice published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” in April 2011 found that an antioxidant found in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate, or ECGC, may help delay the onset of Type 1 diabetes. Other animal studies have shown that green tea may help regulate blood glucose levels and help slow the progression of this condition once you have it, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, further studies would be needed to verify that these benefits occur in people as well as animals.
Green Tea and risk for Type 2 Diabetes: Drinking caffeinated green tea may help lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in “Annals of Internal Medicine” in 2006. Study participants who drank at least 6 cups of green tea per day had a 33 percent lower risk for Type 2 diabetes than participants who drank 1 cup or less per week.
Other considerations to think about when drinking green tea. Limit the amount of caffeinated green tea you drink to avoid consuming too much caffeine, which can cause potential side effects including heart palpitations, insomnia, irritability, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. Check with your doctor before adding green tea to your diet, because it can interact with a variety of medications, like including beta-blockers, or blood thinners.
Here are some ideas for drinking tea:
- Drink tea brewed from loose leaves or tea bags
- Replace high sugar juices and sodas with tea
- Choose tea that is calorie-free
- Read ingredient labels on bottled tea and look for brewed tea which has more antioxidants
- Find a sunny spot outside and prepare sun tea in a clear glass jar- drink cold
- Drink tea instead of coffee for less caffeine
- Try different types of tea, enjoy the flavors and aromas
- Reduce stress and relax with a cup of tea
- Soothe a sore throat, clear up congestion with some warm tea and lemon
- Be social and drink tea with friends
- Throw a tea party!
- Tea helps you stay hydrated, drink tea along with water