I grew up in a house where tea was a part of almost every meal. My parents had coffee with breakfast but tea with lunch and dinner.
My Dad was meticulous about teaching my brother and me how to make a proper cup of tea and the proper care of the teapot.
The funny thing is we are not British(who are known worldwide as being avid tea-drinkers), we are Canadian.
Sure my Dad’s father emigrated from England in the early 1900s but my Dad didn’t really know his father as he passed away when my Dad was only 3-years-old.
Much too young to have learned about tea from him.
My mother was a type 2 diabetic and I remember her drinking a LOT of tea.
Naturally, I became a tea drinker as well.
How about you? Are you a tea drinker?
There is just something so comforting about curling up in front of the fire with a nice, hot cup of tea. Have a biscuit with that and a good book and it is just heavenly.
Our grandson is a type 1 diabetic and while he doesn’t drink tea at his young age of 5 years, he has certainly been witness to many cups of tea being enjoyed to finish off many meals.
It leads me to believe he may choose to drink tea as well when he is older.
This brings us to the question…
Is tea good for diabetics?
There are powerful compounds in certain teas that may actually benefit diabetics.
Research suggests that green tea, turmeric tea, cinnamon tea, hibiscus tea, lemon balm tea, chamomile tea, and black tea may contain anti-diabetic properties making them an ideal choice for many diabetics.
If consumed without any sweeteners or milk tea offers a zero-calorie beverage that won’t affect blood sugars.
Benefits of tea
I was surprised to learn that tea contains polyphenols, which are plant-based antioxidants.
These polyphenols offer many benefits:
- improved sensitivity to insulin
- maintaining a healthy blood pressure
- prevent blood clots
- reduced risk of heart disease
- lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- lower risk of developing cancer
- has a calming effect reducing anxiety
- sharpened mental health
Wow, that is a lot of benefits. I guess I will continue drinking tea.
Types of tea
Now that we know that drinking tea is definitely good for us let’s learn about the different types of tea available. What are the differences and what benefits do each type of tea offer?
In recent years, I have heard quite a lot about the many health benefits of green tea.
Green tea helps lower blood sugar levels, reduces cellular damage, decreases inflammation, and helps curb obesity.
Green tea also contains antioxidant polyphenols that are known to reduce stress and widen the arteries. This helps lower cholesterol levels.
Studies show that drinking green tea may even help prevent developing type 2 diabetes and it is recommended to drink 3-4 cups of green tea per day.
Black tea contains powerful plant compounds that include Theaflavins and Thearubigins which also have anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. They also have the potential to lower blood sugar levels.
In a study involving 24 people(some of them had pre-diabetes), showed that the consumption of black tea alongside a sugary drink, significantly decreased blood sugar levels when compared to a control group.
Black tea also has flavenoids that benefit heart health.
We tend to have a cup of black tea following a meal.
It is also recommended to drink 3-4 cups daily.
Hisbiscus tea is a brightly colored, bitter tea known as sour tea. It is made from the Hisbiscus sabdariffa plant petals.
This tea contains polyphenols called anthocyanins, which give it it’s bright red color.
Drinking hibiscus tea can help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
A study involving 60 diabetics who drank 8 ounces of hibiscus tea twice daily for 1 month, showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (the top number of blood pressure readings) when compared to black tea.
Hisbiscus tea may also help reduce insulin resistance.
It is important to note that hibiscus tea may interact with a commonly prescribed diuretic blood pressure medication called hydrochlorothiazide.
I haven’t tried hibiscus tea yet but it is on my list for my next shopping day.
Cinnamon reportedly has anti-diabetic properties.
Many people take concentrated cinnamon supplements to lower their blood sugar levels but a cup of cinnamon tea may also give those benefits.
A study involving 30 non-diabetic adults showed that drinking 3.5 oz. of cinnamon tea before consuming a sugary drink led to decreased blood sugar levels when compared to a control group.
A recent study also showed that by taking 6 grams of a cinnamon supplement daily for 40 days, pre-meal glucose levels were significantly lowered in healthy adults.
A 2013 review determined that while cinnamon can have a significant benefit for fasting glucose and lipid levels it is not effective in controlling HbA1C levels.
More human research is required before any conclusive results about cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar levels can be reached.
Tumeric is a well-known orange spice that is well-known for its’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The main ingredient, curcumin, has been widely studied for its ability to lower blood sugars.
Studies have suggested that curcumin may promote healthy blood sugars by improving insulin sensitivity and increasing glucose uptake in tissues greatly benefiting type 2 diabetics.
Tumeric tea can be made at home using turmeric powder or by purchasing it at health food stores.
Note, to achieve maximum benefits, be sure to add a little black pepper because a major component of black pepper called piperine, will significantly increase curcumin bioavailability.
Lemon Balm tea
Lemon balm is a common soothing herb that is actually a member of the mint family. It has a bright lemony scent and makes a soothing, relaxing herbal tea.
I enjoy lemon balm tea with a bit of honey in it on those rare occasions when I have a slight head cold.
Studies have shown that lemon balm essential oils may lead to decreased blood sugar levels by stimulating glucose intake and inhibiting glucose synthesis within the body.
A study involving 62 type 2 diabetics who took 700 mg lemon balm capsules daily for 12 weeks found reduced fasting blood sugar, HbA1C, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and inflammation markers than a placebo group.
These results are promising but it remains unclear whether lemon balm tea would have the same effect.
Several health benefits have been linked to chamomile tea including helping to manage healthy blood sugar levels.
Chamomile tea may also help with improved sleep quality, promotes healthy digestion, may protect against certain cancers, as well as help with cardiovascular health in addition to improved blood sugars.
I find chamomile tea very relaxing after a nice hot bath before bedtime. It just helps me feel ready for sleep when I do climb under the covers.
In a study involving 64 diabetics, it was found that if they drank tea made with 3 grams of chamomile, 3 times per day for 8 weeks there was significantly lower HbA1c and fasting insulin levels when compared to a control group.
This article has certainly answered the question ‘Is tea good for diabetics’?
Tea certainly has the potential to aid in many health benefits for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
Keep in mind everyone’s body reacts differently to things and tea is certainly no different.
It is important that whether drinking tea or not you need to follow your diabetes care plan. Always follow your doctor’s advice.
It is nice to know that drinking tea can calm our nerves, relieve anxiety, lower blood pressure, help us sleep better, aid our digestive system, and help lower blood sugar levels.
Without adding sweeteners or milk it is zero calories so is an amazing beverage if you are trying to lose weight.
There are many zero or low-calorie sweeteners available today if you really need it. Also, keep in mind that adding milk or milk products will add to your overall carb count.
I enjoy my tea hot or iced depending on the day, the weather, or even just my mood at the time.
However, sipping a nice cold, iced tea while lounging by the pool in summer is certainly a treat.
How do you enjoy your tea? Hot? Iced? With milk or sugar?
Share your favorite tea in the comment section below.