Green Tea for Diabetes Prevention

By Editorial Staff

Why does research continue to suggest green tea is a key way reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Because certain compounds found in green tea appear to help regulate blood sugar, a process that's impaired in diabetics. Even more promising: It may be more effective than a common diabetes medication at doing it, according to recent research.

In the study, 120 overweight women (body mass index greater than 24, but without diabetes) were divided into three study groups for comparison. One group received green tea extract (1 gram daily); the second group took metformin, a drug used both to treat diabetes and prevent / delay the condition from developing; and group three received both interventions (green tea and medication). According to study findings, published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, green tea was superior to metformin alone in helping regulate blood sugar.

How are blood sugar and diabetes related? The connection isn't complicated, but it's easy to get confused. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the common denominator involves how sugar (glucose) is removed from the bloodstream.

green tea - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Anytime you eat, your body breaks the food down into glucose (sugar) and it enters the bloodstream. A hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas, helps move the sugar out of the blood and into the body's cells. If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas is unable to make insulin. If you have type 2, your pancreas still makes insulin, but it doesn't use it properly. Eventually, the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin to effectively remove sugar from the bloodstream. This is known as insulin resistance.

Type 1 usually develops in childhood, whereas type 2 generally develops in adulthood. Currently, you can't prevent type 1, but you can definitely prevent type 2, since it's almost always the result of poor diet, lack of exercise, weight gain, etc. That's where a low-sugar diet, consistent exercise (both of which promote a healthy weight) and other lifestyle choices – such as drinking green tea – are critical. Talk to your doctor for more information.

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