Diabetes is a progressive condition that can affect your life adversely. Therefore, managing diabetes requires a holistic approach and leading a fit life by eating right, exercising, and making lifestyle changes. As much as exercising and lifestyle changes are needed to manage blood sugar levels, making the right food choice is essential and the most important factor for diabetes management. One of the recent recommendations that is doing the talks is green tea for diabetes
On International Tea Day, we decode everything about green tea for diabetes: what it is, the top 5 benefits of green tea, and how important it is to be added to a diabetes diet.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea, mostly native to India and China, is a type of tea made from Camellia sinensis leaves and buds that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation process as for other types of tea. The most surprising fact for people new to tea is that green tea and black tea originate from the same exact plant species—Camellia sinensis. As mentioned above, the variety of ways the tea leaves are processed makes the difference of how green tea becomes ‘green’ and black tea becomes ‘black’.
The process to make green tea is different. The tea leaves are harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant and thereafter heated, either via steaming or pan frying and then finally dried. This is done to prevent over-oxidation that would otherwise make the green leaves brown and alter their flavour. On the contrary, black tea leaves are fully oxidized before they are dried and heat-processed. The oxidation process involves oxygen to interact with the cells of leaves, thus making it rich dark brown to black colour.
The plant compounds found in the tea leaves are loaded with essential nutrients. In fact, tea is rich in polyphenols, a micronutrient known to help fight cancer and reduce inflammation. Listed below are the health benefits of including green tea for diabetes.
1) Rich in Polyphenols and catechin
Amongst the types of tea, green tea contains around 30 percent polyphenols by weight. Moreover, another important compound present in green tea is catechin – EGCG. Catechins are natural antioxidants that are known to prevent cell damage and reduce the production of free radicals. EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is known to have powerful medicinal properties.
2) Helps in fat burning and improves physical performance
The chances of green tea in any diet for weight loss is higher than any other type of beverage. One of the reasons to believe the same is because green tea has shown a significant increase in fat burning and boosting metabolic rate. Moreover, the caffeine present in green tea is proven to improve physical performance by making the fatty acids of fatty acids to use as energy.
3) Rich in antioxidants
Cancer is known to be one of the leading causes of death and is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells. The antioxidants present in green tea are known to prevent oxidative damage that leads to the development of cancer. The polyphenols in tea have been indicated to decrease tumour growth and protect against damage.
4) Improves dental health
Cardiovascular diseases, mainly heart disease and stroke, are quite common and are one of the major causes of death. Research has shown that green tea reduces the risk factors of these diseases. Moreover, green tea has shown to lower total and prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
5) Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are known to be the leading causes of death in the world. However, studies have indicated that green tea can reduce the main risk factors for these diseases, mainly total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Green Tea for Diabetes
As per the recent study of Annals of Internal Medicine, consumption of caffeinated green tea helps in lowering the risk of Type-2 diabetes. In the study, one set of participants were asked to consume at least six cups of green tea per day, and another set of participants were asked to drink one cup per day. By the end of the experiment, it was seen that the former set of participants had a 33 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes than participants who drank one cup per day.
However, it is to be noted that anything in excess is bad. Here, moderation is the key. The best way to make the right food choices is by consulting your diabetes educator.