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Tea Health Benefits For Diabetics

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Updated June 15, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Tea can have many health benefits for diabetics, including supporting a healthy heart and vascular system. Several studies suggest that adding black and green tea to your healthy meal plan may assist with this. Although the mechanism as to why tea may support a healthy vascular system is not certain, one theory is that naturally occurring compounds, known as flavanoids, may be involved. Flavanoids are found in tea, wine, cocoa, fruits and vegetables.

Regular tea (black or green) does contain caffeine, so if caffeine is something you've been advised to avoid, then you could consider decaffeinated teas.

The small amount of caffeine in tea combined with the amino acid L-theonine may help to sustain focus and alertness throughout the day. Following a diabetic meal plan requires careful thought and attention -- so if you feel too tired to figure out what to eat for dinner, try having a cup of tea while you sort it out.

Calorically, tea is considered a free food for diabetics. Unless you add milk and sugar to it, tea is virtually calorie-free. One of my favorite ways to enjoy tea in the summer is by brewing a fruit-flavored green tea and then serving it over ice. Many of the fruit-flavored green teas have a slightly-sweet natural flavor, which helps limit the need for added sweeteners. Although caffeine may have a diuretic effect, several studies have shown that the levels of caffeine in regularly consumed amounts of tea do not lead to dehydration -- and once again, decaf is always an option.

Sources:

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