When people think of tea, they normally think of the tea made from the Camellia genesis plant. Those leaves make black, green, white, yellow and oolong tea. However, there are also a number of herbal teas. Tea is nothing more than the leaves or flowers steeped in water to give flavor and color to the water. Most teas frequently consumed have a health benefit. Some teas are healthier than others and some can even aid in glucose control. If you’re diabetic, prediabetic or insulin resistant, that’s important.
Drinking tea without added sugar can keep you hydrated, but some teas do even more.
Two very popular teas for diabetics are black and green tea. They both have health benefits. The anti-inflammatories benefits help reduce cellular damage and also helps keep blood sugar levels steady. Green tea contains EGCG— epigallocatechin gallate—studies show it aids in the uptake of glucose into the skeletal muscles, which, in turn, lowers blood sugar levels. Other studies show it helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Studies of black tea show similar results and even protected pancreatic cells.
Hibiscus tea may also be beneficial.
Hibiscus flowers are beautiful, but the petals of those beautiful blossoms also make a tart, but very healthy tea. The flowers contain polyphenol antioxidants, such as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give blueberries their blue color and make the hibiscus tea ruby red. This tea is recommended for those who need to lower blood pressure, which probably describes most people with Type 2 diabetes. Hibiscus tea can also help reduce insulin resistance, one of the predecessors of type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon tea is a spicy addition that can help control blood sugar levels.
Some people use cinnamon supplements in pill form to help reduce their blood sugar levels. Recent studies show that drinking cinnamon tea can also help. In fact, one study showed that when people with normal blood sugar levels drank about a half cup of cinnamon tea before drinking a sugar solution, their blood sugar levels were lower than the control group that didn’t drink the tea. The cinnamon slows the release of sugar into the blood stream, improves insulin sensitivity and boosts cellular glucose uptake. Not all studies are conclusive, so talk to your health care professional.
- Most people realize turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, but new studies that drinking it may improve insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar levels. Make sure to add black pepper, which enhances the benefits of turmeric.
- Lemon balm is easy to grow and the leaves can make a delicious tea or it can be added to cooking. The essential oils from lemon balm can increase glucose uptake, while reducing glucose synthesis in the body.
- A cup of chamomile tea can help relax you, but it also may aid in regulating blood sugar levels. Studies show it helps improve blood sugar control and provides antioxidants to protect the cells.
- Other herbal teas that can help improve glucose control include ginger, which contain gingerols that improve sugar uptake, huckleberry tea with its phytonutrients and coriander tea that can help control both blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
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