Tea and Diabetics

Tea and Diabetics by Megan Ashton


Oolong, black and green are the three types of tea produced by the tea plant. Oolong is partially fermented, black is completely fermented and green is not fermented. Tea contains polyphenols, which are chemicals that have an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant effect in the body. All three teas may be beneficial for the treatment of diabetes; however, green and oolong are regarded as most medicinally beneficial.

Green Tea and Diabetes

According to Laura Shane-McWhorter in "The American Diabetes Association: Guide to Herbs and Nutritional Supplements," tea has been found to be helpful for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The exact mechanism of action is unknown but its medicinal effect is thought to come from polyphenols and other ingredients found in tea that enhance insulin sensitivity. Recent research suggests that drinking 6 or more cups of green tea but not oolong tea, may lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Green tea may also help to prevent the development of Type 1, or insulin-dependant diabetes and slow the progression of it once it has developed. Green tea is thought to be helpful by encouraging and regulating the production of insulin in the body.

Oolong Tea and Diabetes

Although oolong tea is not regarded as helpful for Type 1 or 2 diabetes prevention, one study found that individuals with Type 2 diabetes who drank 6 cups of oolong tea daily experienced a decrease in glucose, or blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association says that it may be especially beneficial as an adjunct to oral hyperglycemic drugs, in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. In fact, a study done on individuals taking oral hyperglycemic drugs with oolong tea, found a marked lowering of blood glucose levels over participants who were taking the drugs with water alone.

Tea, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

In addition to reducing blood glucose levels, tea may be beneficial to diabetes sufferers by reducing cardiovascular disease risk, which is the primary cause of death in diabetics. Studies have found that drinking tea may help to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, or LDL cholesterol levels, while also raising the healthy "HDL" cholesterol levels. Studies have also found it to help prevent atherosclerosis -- a key precursor to heart disease.

Additional Information

Many diabetics also struggle with their weight. Clinical studies show green tea boosts the metabolism and helps burn fat. For the best results, do not to add milk or soy milk to your tea, because they have been found to decrease the positive effects that tea has on insulin. McWhorter says that there is not enough scientific evidence to substantiate the use of green tea supplements for the treatment of diabetes. Instead it is recommended that you drink up to 6 cups of tea daily, and reduce your intake if restlessness or insomnia occurs.


  • "The American Diabetes Association: Guide to Herbs and Nutritional Supplements"; Laura Shane-McWhorter; 2009
  • The University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
  • American Diabetes Association: Antihyperglycemic Effect of Oolong Tea in Type 2 Diabetes

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/385413-tea-and-diabetics/#ixzz1EioRt9J7

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