Tea is a beverage made by steeping the leaves of the tea plant in boiling water. Many teas, and some herbal infusions, have health-boosting properties and may benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
All true teas, whether black, green, Oolong, or white, come from the same Camellia sinensis plant. However, herbal infusions – sometimes also called teas – are made with different herbs and fruits, such as chamomile, mint, and hibiscus tea.
This article explores the interaction between tea (including infusions) and type 2 diabetes. It also looks at different types of tea and infusions, and the best choices for an individual with type 2 diabetes.
Unsweetened tea or herbal infusions can be a good choice of low-calorie beverage for someone with type 2 diabetes, as the drink does not impact blood sugar levels. They can also help
Additionally, teas and infusions may contain active compounds with some
There are three major types of diabetes: Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin and is the most common type of diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
True tea is made from the leaf of the tea plant, while herbal infusions – also called “tisanes” – are made from any other edible plant, including fruits and herbs.
Tea is the world’s second-most-popular beverage, consumed by
While herbal or fruit infusions are often referred to as “teas,” they do not contain leaves from the tea plant.
Herbal infusions can be made from the leaves, stems, roots, fruits, buds, and flowers of virtually any edible fruits and herbs. Health benefits vary according to their ingredients and their bioactive compounds.
Tea and herbal infusions may benefit individuals with type 2 diabetes thanks to active plant compounds that help control blood sugar levels and have antioxidant effects.
Additionally, the study suggested tea may improve insulin resistance, suppress hyperglycemia, boost immunity, and lessen diabetes-induced nerve cell damage. However, the authors also found inconsistent associations between drinking tea and a reduced risk of developing diabetes.
The authors also note that studies may have different findings because of the varying chemical composition of teas. They highlight the importance of isolating the bioactive compounds in tea to test their antidiabetic effects individually.
- Ginger: Anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic
- Peppermint: Antioxidant and antitumor effects
- Rosehip: Anti-inflammatory
- Sage: Increases liver antioxidants
- Yerba mate: Protects the cardiovascular and hepatic system
Both teas and herbal infusions have potential health benefits for a person with type 2 diabetes:
Green and black tea protect against the development of several diseases including diabetes.
Green tea may also protect against a person developing diabetes. In a
Black tea may help manage blood sugar levels. In a
As with green tea, black tea may play a
Herbal infusions are caffeine-free and may be beneficial in helping regulate sugar intake, and improving antioxidant levels. They include these varieties:
Chamomile tea may optimize blood sugar regulation and protect the body from oxidative stress, leading to diabetes complications.
Cinnamon tea may help reduce blood sugar levels. In a small
Further research is needed to determine the effects of cinnamon tea.
Around two-thirds of people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. In an early
Lemon balm essential oils may help decrease blood sugar levels by boosting glucose uptake and curbing glucose synthesis. However, these findings are from an older
These results suggest that drinking lemon balm tea may have comparable effects, but more studies are necessary.
Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin. A
Although consuming tea and herbal infusions can be a healthy choice, people should be aware that sweetening their beverages with sugar or honey can affect blood sugar regulation.
People with type 2 diabetes may want to drink unsweetened tea or herbal infusions to avoid increasing their blood sugar levels. If a person is drinking true tea, they could add lemon, cinnamon, or other fruits and herbs to help flavor the tea without adding sugar.
Packaged tea and herbal infusion products may contain added sugars, so it is essential to check the ingredients.
Additionally, some herbal infusions may interact with diabetes medications. For example, prickly pear may
Tea and herbal infusions are popular beverages that potentially could benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
True teas, such as green, and black tea, may have beneficial effects for a person with type 2 diabetes. Many herbal infusions – including chamomile, turmeric, lemon balm, cinnamon, hibiscus – may also contain compounds with antidiabetic effects.
People with type 2 diabetes should avoid sweetening their tea or herbal infusions with sugar or honey. They should also confirm with their doctor that herbal teas will not interfere with any diabetic medications.