Did you know - more than 24 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, while one in three Americans are at imminent risk of developing this condition?
In diabetes, muscle and liver cells are unable to absorb glucose from the blood, so that they are deprived of the energy they need to function properly - which also means blood glucose levels remain at unhealthily high levels for long periods of time.
High blood glucose seen in diabetes is a serious health issue that greatly increases risk of dying of heart disease or stroke by as much as 40%. It also makes diabetes sufferers more susceptible to obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, research studies indicate that green tea catechins - powerful flavonoid antioxidants found in high levels in green tea - may lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
For instance, a double-blind controlled study carried out in 2009 at the Health Care Food Research Laboratories in Tokyo, Japan showed that a catechin-rich beverage reduced obesity and improved blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Study researchers looked at the effects of consumption of catechin-rich green tea in diabetes patients who were not receiving insulin therapy. Participants consumed green tea containing either 582.8 mg or 96.3 mg of catechins every day for 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks, the decrease in waist circumference was noticeably greater in the higher catechin group. At the same time, levels of the hormone adiponectin - which lowers fat accumulation - were also higher in this group. This means green tea catechins may help to prevent obesity along with lowering risk for type 2 diabetes - one of the consequences of obesity.
Similarly, a Japanese study looked at the effects of catechins on body fat reduction and weight loss. 35 Japanese men drank oolong tea fortified with green tea extract containing either 690 milligrams or 22 milligrams of catechins.
Study subjects who drank green tea extract lost more weight and experienced a significantly greater decrease in body mass index (BMI), waist size and total body fat. Not only that, levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol were also reduced in these subjects.
Green tea also appears to benefit patients with diabetes who have high blood pressure (BP) or hypertension. In a randomized clinical trial, 100 mildly hypertensive patients with diabetes were randomly given either sour tea or green tea. Interestingly, systolic and diastolic BP of both groups of patients were reduced by the end of the study.
Taken together, these results show that catechins lower risk for lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes - while also reducing the side effects of diabetes, including high BP.
Based on previous studies, at least 4 cups of green tea a day are recommended for weight management along with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Green tea extract supplements are also available for people who don’t like drinking so much green tea every day.