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Drinking Lots of Tea Can Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Update Date: Jun 05, 2012 04:56 PM EDT

If someone stopped you from consuming a lot of tea and told you that was a bad habit, here is what you need to tell them. A recent study says that drinking four or more cups of tea every day can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

But then again, one needs to be consuming more than four cups of tea every day (only heavy drinkers benefit), says the study led by Christian Herder from the Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany.

"Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, but dietary factors may also play a role. One dietary factor of interest is tea consumption. Tea consumption may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by influencing glucose digestion, glucose uptake, and by protecting beta-cells from free-radical damage. This beneficial effect may be due to the polyphenols present in tea," researchers said according to Mail Online.

According to Herder, drinking four cups of tea lowered the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 20% while drinking less than that showed no effect at all.  For people consuming less than four cups, the risk remained the same as those who were non tea drinkers.

However, it is still unclear if tea is associated inversely over the entire range of intake, said the report.

"Therefore, we investigated the association between tea consumption and incidence of type 2 diabetes in a European population," wrote Herder.

For the research, a study was conducted in 26 centres across eight European countries, and consisted of 12,403 incident type 2 diabetes cases along with others who did not have the disease.

The habit of drinking tea also differed in individuals ranging from those who did not drink tea at all to those who consumed four cups a day.

"Increasing our understanding of modifiable lifestyle factors associated with the development of type 2 diabetes is important, as the prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly," Herder said.

During the study, the researchers observed that there was no association " when tea consumption was studied as continuous variable. This may indicate that the protective effect of tea is restricted to people with a high tea consumption," he said.

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