In recent years, we've seen lots of attention focused on the health benefits of drinking green tea. Much of the research has centered on green tea's ability to prevent, and possibly even treat, cancer. But, there are other serious health concerns that may be positively affected by adding green tea to your diet. One of the most important is Type II diabetes.
Over 20 million people in the US have Type II diabetes, and nearly one third of them do not even know it. And, another 54 million are pre-diabetic, meaning their blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetic. This means that Type II diabetes is one of the most common health concerns in the US today. Our climbing rate of obesity has significantly contributed to the soaring diabetes rate.
Diabetes results when the body either does not produce enough insulin, or does not use it properly. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar and other food into energy. When insulin is not used properly, as is the case with Type II diabetes, an over abundance of glucose is left in the body. This is dangerous, and, over time can cause complications such as kidney problems, blindness, heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, foot problems and skin problems.
Other forms of diabetes include Type I diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type I diabetes results from the body's inability to produce an adequate amount of insulin, and is typically diagnosed during childhood. Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy causes the body to use insulin improperly. With proper diet, and sometimes medication, gestational diabetes can usually be controlled, and typically disappears once the pregnancy is over.
While we do not fully understand what causes Type II diabetes, we do know that people who are overweight are at greater risk for developing the disease. Exercise and weight maintenance are critical to preventing this disease. Type II diabetes also offers to run in families; So if you have a family history of diabetes, it's even more important to keep your weight in check and get regular exercise.
If you're overweight, or if your blood glucose levels are already high, there is a lot you can do to help lower your blood sugar levels and prevent your condition from developing into full blown diabetes. In addition to getting regular exercise, you should pay close attention to not only how much you eat, but what kinds of foods, as well.
Avoid processed sugar and white flour – both of these are difficult for the body to process into energy, and often leave blood glucose levels higher than they should be. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with lean protein. Avoid processed foods, as these tend to be high in corn syrup, white flour and other sugars.
And, this is where green tea comes in. Several studies have shown that drinking green tea helps keep your blood glucose levels stable, avoiding excess highs or lows.
One study, reported by the UK Council on Tea, showed that people who consume green tea regularly are at a lower risk of developing Type II diabetes than those who do not. In this study, over 17,000 participants were evaluated. The participants had no history of Type II diabetes, heart disease or cancer at the beginning of the study. The participants included both men and women, between the ages of 40 and 65.
The patients' lifestyles were evaluated at the beginning of the study, and then again in 5 years. At the five year follow up, the study concluded that the participants who were tea or coffee drinkers were less likely to have developed Type II diabetes during the five year period. The participants who drank 3 or more cups of tea a day showed a more significant lowering of the chances of contracting diabetes.
This news is extremely positive for those who are looking for ways to reduce their chances of contracting diabetes. It sees there's an additional tool in our arsenal for protecting ourselves against diabetes. Green tea, along with coffee and black tea, can not insist on its own that you do not contract diabetes, but they do seem to be a simple habit that has a significant effect.
Tea may also be an effective adjunct therapy for those who already have diabetes. When used along with diet and exercise, you may find that green tea stabilizes your insulin levels enough to lower your dosage of medication. In addition, for those patients managing diabetes without medication may find it easier to do so by adding green tea to their diet. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before adding any alternative therapies to your routine.
Another benefit of drinking green tea to help control diabetes as opposed to black tea or coffee is that it looks that green tea can help you in managing your weight, which is key to preventing diabetes. Green tea appears to have a thermogenic effect on our bodies, speeding up our metabolism and helping us to burn fat. So, in addition to helping keep insulin levels stable, you may find it easier to keep your weight under control with green tea as part of your diet.
As time goes on, we're finding more and more healthy benefits of drinking green tea. It appears to have significant potential in preventing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even rheumatoid arthritis. And, now, we believe that it can help prevent diabetes, too.
You should have no worries about adding green tea to your diet. It does not have any known side effects, and poses no potential health threats. And, while green tea does contain caffeine, it contains significantly less than coffee or even black tea. And, the caffeine in green tea does not seem to accelerate the heart rate the way caffeine in other beverages can. For these reasons, many people who are caffeine-sensitive seem to tolerate green tea quite well.
So, brew yourself a cup of tea. There seems to be no reason not to drink green tea, and many, many reasons why drinking it might be the healthiest thing you do all day!