You might be getting an unexpected benefit if you enjoy a few cups of tea every day. New research suggests it could make a significant impact on diabetes risk.
Researchers found that drinking four or more cups of black, green, or oolong daily was associated with a 17 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over a decade.
The Wuhan University of Science and Technology team in China conducted a meta-analysis of 19 studies that included more than one million adults in eight countries. The findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and the results are considered preliminary until they are peer-reviewed.
Based on survey results, they found that for each cup consumed, tea drinkers cut their risk of type-2 diabetes by 1 percent. Compared to those who didn’t drink tea, those who drank one to three cups daily reduced their risk by 4%. Those that drank at least four cups per day saw a whopping 17 percent reduction.
It’s possible that certain compounds in tea, mainly polyphenols, may reduce blood glucose levels, yet high numbers of them may be needed to be effective. Perhaps that is why the benefit seemed to really kick at four cups of tea.
Managing blood sugar and preventing type-2 diabetes is about much more than drinking tea or any other single food or beverage. The total package is important when it comes to overall health, managing inflammation and limiting the risk of disease.
This means consuming an overall healthy diet and getting activity; adding tea to a poor diet or lifestyle is unlikely to make a big difference in outcomes.
But if you’re already living pretty well, adding tea to your routine may add some additional protection. Remember, tea is caffeinated, so tolerance should be assessed. For many, jumping right into four cups per day may have consequences.
In any event, it appears that tea may be able to a reduction in diabetes risk to its list of potential health benefits.