Scientists have found that tea has an unexpected benefit — it can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
New European research has found that people who drink four cups a day — the British average — reduced their risk of diabetes by 20 percent.
Researchers from Heinrich University in Dusseldorf, Germany, looked at 12,403 people with type 2 diabetes and thousands of others without the disease across Europe.
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They found the more tea you drink the better — with one to three cups a day not enough to lower the risk.
The average Australian's number of hot cuppas per day would likely be lower than the tea-loving English, but if you can put a Brit to shame and drink four or more daily, the benefits are significant, said lead researcher Christian Herder.
"Tea consumption may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by influencing glucose digestion, glucose uptake and by protecting beta-cells from free-radical damage. This beneficial effect may be due to the polyphenols present in tea," Herder explained .
"Drinking at least four cups of tea per day was associated with a 20 percent lower risk, whereas drinking one to three cups per day did not lower the risk of diabetes compared with non-tea drinkers."
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Herder hopes this research will help with type 2 diabetes prevention.
"Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, but dietary factors may also play a role. One dietary factor of interest is tea consumption," he said.
"Increasing our understanding of modifiable lifestyle factors associated with the development of type 2 diabetes is important, as the prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly," he said.
Caroline George, an accredited practising dietitian at the Australian Diabetes Council, says drinking tea is fine, as long as it’s part of an overall healthy diet.
"Lifestyle changes, including dropping weight and exercising, can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 60 per cent,” she says.