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Drinking This Much Tea Can Lower the Risk of Diabetes, Research Says

A new study reveals that drinking at least one cup of tea a day may help keep you healthy.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

Around one in every 10 Americans deals with diabetes, and of those people, anywhere from 90% to 95% have type 2 diabetes. Due to the fact that it's a condition that affects the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body, you might focus on ensuring that you're eating healthy food when trying to prevent diabetes. However, you might also want to add tea to your daily routine for the very same purpose, according to a new 2022 study.

Research from a study that was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, via Medical News Today, took a look at 19 cohort studies that involved a total of 1,076,311 people.

While also noting potential lifestyle variables, those behind the research found that participants who drank one to three cups of tea each day had a 4% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes when compared to those who didn't drink tea. Beyond that, there was a 17% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes for those who drank four or more cups of tea each day.

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"While the study did show a 17% lower risk for those who consume 4 or more cups of tea daily, which sounds like exciting and encouraging news, the study was unable to discover why drinking that many cups of tea a day has this association with a lowered risk of developing diabetes," Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD, clinical dietitian and author of The Nourished Brain, tells Eat This, Not That!

At the same time, Mussatto explains that "the most likely explanation for why tea seems to have an association with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes is probably from natural compounds called polyphenols, which are found in tea and supply important antioxidants that help protect cells from damage and help reduce inflammation."

She also notes that "green tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant, that may improve the cell's sensitivity to insulin and reduce insulin resistance."

As for the specific benefits of drinking four or more cups of tea each day, Mussatto notes that "researchers with the study admitted that they are unsure as to why four cups of tea had a higher incidence and association of lowering the risk of diabetes."

"Drinking green, black, or oolong tea may have some potential benefits for lowering type 2 diabetes risk, but it really depends on a person's overall lifestyle," Mussatto adds. "For instance, if they add sugar to their cups of tea, it defeats the purpose. Or, if their other health habits are not the best—they eat an unhealthy diet, skip exercising, and are overweight or obese—simply drinking cups of tea to avoid diabetes isn't the answer to lowering their risk of this chronic disease."

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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