Tea consumption may be beneficial for people with diabetes. Tea has many healthy properties, from helping to regulate blood sugar to enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Tea does not increase the risk of developing diabetes. Better yet, it may help people manage this condition by reducing inflammation, increasing insulin sensitivity, and regulating glucose levels in the blood.

This article will review the effect of tea on people with diabetes, its benefits, and its risks.

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Researchers found that regular consumption of tea may improve diabetes. This is because certain tea varieties may help improve insulin production and sensitivity to this hormone.

Diabetes is a condition that can cause high blood sugar levels. There are different types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: This is a chronic disease in which the immune system of a person with the condition attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes: This is a more common type of diabetes in which the body of a person with this illness does not produce enough insulin, or their body does not regularly react to insulin inducing high levels of glucose in the blood.

Dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Unsweetened tea is a great option for keeping the body hydrated. Tea is a low calorie drink, so consuming multiple cups of unsweetened tea throughout the day will not have an impact on blood glucose levels.

There are many varieties of tea, and each one of them has different valuable properties. People with diabetes may experience benefits from regularly drinking tea. These may include:

  • maintaining healthy blood pressure
  • improving insulin sensitivity
  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots
  • increasing insulin action
  • decreasing systemic inflammation
  • wasting free radicals

This is because tea is rich in polyphenols and caffeine, two components that can help prevent and manage diabetes. Tea may also reduce cancer risk thanks to the antioxidants it contains.

There are many beneficial properties of tea that may help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Drinking at least a cup of black tea a day may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A small study from 2017, including subjects without diabetes and some with prediabetes, found that drinking a cup of black tea after drinking a sucrose solution helped to keep blood sugar levels in the target range compared to participants who did not drink tea.

Learn more about the benefits of black tea here.

Similar to black tea, green tea has a multitude of beneficial properties. Drinking green tea may help people reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar levels.

Green tea can play an important role in the management of diabetes and may also help prevent the onset of this condition. A 2017 study on people from Japan found that the study participants who were drinking 7 or more cups of green tea a day had a significantly lower risk of developing diabetes.

Drinking 2–4 cups of green tea regularly each day, thanks to the great number of its beneficial properties, may help lower the risk of early death due to type 2 diabetes by 19%.

Learn more about the benefits of green tea here.

A 2022 review reports that hibiscus tea may help protect the body from the complications that diabetes can cause, thanks to the antioxidative properties of hibiscus. Hibiscus may also help improve insulin resistance.

A 2016 study found that rats with metabolic syndrome who were treated with a hibiscus extract had favorable changes in insulin resistance, blood glucose levels, and blood lipid levels. More research is needed to assess the benefit of hibiscus tea in humans with diabetes.

Learn more about hibiscus tea here.

Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help people with diabetes manage their condition. Turmeric also contains great quantities of curcumin which is rich in polyphenols and may help reduce blood sugar.

A 2020 study on rodents also found that turmeric may help improve insulin resistance and reduce blood glucose levels. We need more research on humans, however.

Learn more about turmeric tea here.

Chamomile is rich in antioxidants that may prevent oxidative stress leading to diabetes complications. Chamomile may also help regulate blood sugars.

A 2016 study found that people drinking at least 3 cups of chamomile a day for 8 weeks had an increase in the levels of antioxidants in their bodies and presented an improved ability to control blood sugars. However, we need more research to confirm the benefits of drinking chamomile over a longer period of time.

Learn more about the benefits of chamomile here.

Lemon balm may help reduce cardiovascular risks linked to diabetes and reduce blood sugar levels.

A 2018 study reports that people with type 2 diabetes, taking capsules containing lemon balm extract twice a day for 12 weeks had improvements in glycemic control and reduced inflammation. But it is important to note that lemon balm extract is not the same as brewed lemon balm tea.

Learn more about the health benefits of lemon balm here.

Drinking unsweetened tea is typically safe for people with diabetes. Tea contains caffeine and polyphenols, which are both beneficial for managing diabetes, keeping the body hydrated, and improving sensitivity to insulin.

However, adding sugar to a cup of tea may lead to the opposite effect, causing a spike in blood sugar levels depending on how much sugar a person adds to their drink.

If a person has high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, they may experience:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • need to urinate more frequently, in particular during the night
  • thirst
  • tiredness
  • weight loss
  • blurry vision
  • recurring skin and bladder infections

Drinking tea may have many benefits for people with diabetes. This is because most types of tea are rich in polyphenols, and they have many other beneficial properties that can help improve blood glucose levels and insulin resistance.

Black and green tea, chamomile, and other types of infusions, like hibiscus and turmeric tea, may help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent the development of many complications linked to diabetes, including cardiovascular disease.

Drinking tea typically does not have any contraindication for people with diabetes. However, people should avoid sweetening their tea with sugar or honey as this may cause a spike in their blood sugar levels.