Every cup of coffee is a lost opportunity to drink a potentially even healthier beverage – a cup of tea.
~ Dr. Michael Gregor
Over the last couple of decades numerous studies have been published associating tea consumption with decreased risk of diabetes and other ailments.
Dr. Gregor, author of “How Not To Die,” says that camellia sinensis (the tea plant) is so powerful it can reverse disease just through topical application to the skin.
Indeed, the health benefits of tea and its ability to protect against diseases and maladies of all types, including associations with decreased risk of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high body fat, tooth loss, pneumonia, and diabetes are all beginning to be well understood.
This guide will cover research into the health benefits of tea regarding blood sugar levels, give examples of what tea regimens could look like based on that research, and make recommendations on what types of tea to drink based on the foods it pairs well with.
However, this article should not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor, TCM practitioner, and/or current medium for healing before implementing any changes to your diet. Hyperglycemia and diabetes are serious medical conditions that demand immediate, attentive professional care.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is the primary agency of the US government responsible for biomedical and public health research, has published literature stating:
“In addition, anti-aging, antidiabetic and many other health beneficial effects [are] associated with tea consumption.”
For proof, the agency references a Japanese study published in The Obesity Society in which patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were given one can of green tea with varying amounts of catechins (organic compounds found in all tea that have been found to lower blood sugar levels) over a 20-week period.
These patients did not yet need to receive insulin therapy for their condition and were instructed to continue their usual medications, food intake, and exercise habits.
The researchers found that including just one cup of green tea daily to your diet can increase insulin, decrease hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, which is a test of one's average blood sugar levels, and slim your waistline.
So, not only is tea good for regulating blood sugar, but there is also scientific evidence that it can help you lose weight.
In the US, another study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that women aged 45 and up who consumed 4 or more cups of tea daily had a 30 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not.
Similar studies have shown that increasing your daily tea intake beyond 4 cups may be even more beneficial.
A five-year examination of more than 17,000 people in Japan found that individuals who consumed 6 or more cups daily of green tea had a 33 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes.
Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published an article concluding that black tea has promising anti-diabetic agents when consumed prior to a meal regardless of the amount ingested.
In this case, 24 people (normal and pre-diabetic) were placed in a study that measured their blood sugar levels following intake of a sucrose solution (meant to mimic a sugary meal) and found that those who had consumed black tea prior the meal had significantly decreased blood glucose levels compared to those who did not drink any tea beforehand.
Moving on from the main tea plant, camellia sinensis, and into the world of tisanes, an Iranian study showed that drinking chamomile tea three times per day immediately after meals is beneficial to HbA1C levels and insulin levels and resistance. Subjects in this study included both men and women with type 2 diabetes aged between 30 and 60 years old.
Daily Tea Regimens
Now that you’ve got an idea behind the science regarding tea and blood sugar, it’s useful to think about how you can implement that knowledge into your own life through creating a tea regimen.
According to the above research, tea can help lower blood pressure with as little as one cup daily.
Remember, however, to consult with your doctor or health care practitioner before implementing any changes to your diet as this guide is not medical advice.
Also, as this site attests, tea is far more than a medicine.
It is a fun beverage that can be consumed on the go and a refined delicacy that should be treated with the same (or greater) reverence as a fine wine.
So, when creating your tea regimen think not only about the medicinal benefits of the tea you’re consuming, think about when you’ll be drinking it, with whom, and the types of food it can pair well with.
We’ve provided a few samples of how you can do that below.
Keep in mind, however, that there are thousands of regimens you can create on your own and food pairings you can use. The below are merely suggestions.
If you’re concerned about caffeine intake, try a tisane, like the chamomile (Light Lift Herbal Tea) or try drinking your tea gong fu style, which eliminates about 80% of the caffeine.
One Cup Daily
- Tea: Black tea (Recommended: Peach Tea)
- Pairs Well With: honey, sweets, fruits, red and white meats
- Note: Drink before the meal of your choice, ideally dinner
Four Cups Daily
- Tea: Black tea (Recommended: Assam Pekoe or Darjeeling Eclipse)
- Pairs Well With: Eggs or an egg alternative
- Tea: Green tea (Recommended: Organic Sencha)
- Pairs Well With: Vegetables, like greens, or cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli
- Tea: Green tea (Recommended: Juicy Genmaicha)
- Pairs Well With: Numerous foods, keeps you alert, and is good for digestion
- Tea: Black tea (Recommended: Assam Pekoe, Peach Tea, Luscious Masala Chai, Darjeeling Eclipse)
- Pairs Well With: Red and white meats, and meat alternatives
Six Cups Daily
- Tea: Green tea (Recommended: Peak Performance Matcha
- Pairs Well With: Fruit, morning shakes
- Tea: Black tea (Recommended: Darjeeling Eclipse)
- Pairs Well With: Fruit, cheese, and mushrooms
- Tea: Black tea (Recommend: Luscious Masala Chai)
- Pairs Well With: Rice or bread
- Tea: Green tea (Recommended: Juicy Genmaicha, Organic Sencha, Indian Smoke Green Tea)
- Pairs Well With: Pasta
- Tea: Black tea (Recommended: Darjeeling Eclipse)
- Pairs Well With: Fresh fruits, like strawberries and grapes, soft cheeses, and fish
- Tea: Chamomile or green tea (Recommended: Light Lift Herbal Tea and Juicy Genmaicha)
- Pairs Well With: Raw fish dishes, like sushi
Drink Tea All Day
- Tea: Black, green, or your favorite (Recommended: Assam Pekoe, Juicy Genmaicha, Cocoa Turmeric Delight)
- Pairs Well With: An assortment of foods, and the genmaicha aids in digestion