Drinking at least four cups of black, green or oolong tea may reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers in China have found.
Drinking at least four cups of these teas per day was linked to a 17% lower risk of developing the condition over an average span of 10 years, according to research presented at the the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm.
“While more research needs to be done to determine the exact dosage and mechanisms behind these observations, our findings suggest that drinking tea is beneficial in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but only at high doses,” lead author of the research Xiaying Li, from Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said in a news release.
The researchers first studied 5,199 adults with no history of type 2 diabetes from the China Health and Nutrition Survey. The survey examines economics, sociological factors and health metrics from residents in nine Chinese provinces, CNN reported. The adults were recruited in 1997 and tracked until 2009.
But researchers found that people who reported drinking tea and those who did not had similar risks of developing type 2 diabetes.
But when the researchers conducted a systematic review of 19 cohort studies, which involved 1,076,311 participants from eight countries, they found an association between those who drank larger amounts of tea and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The countries included China, the United States, Japan, Finland, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Netherlands and France.
In addition to those drinking at least four cups of tea having a 17% lower risk of developing the condition, those those who drank 1 to 3 cups of tea daily reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 4%, compared to adults who did not drink tea. The links were found regardless of their sex, place of residence or additional factors.
“It is possible that particular components in tea, such as polyphenols, may reduce blood glucose levels, but a sufficient amount of these bioactive compounds may be needed to be effective. It may also explain why we did not find an association between tea drinking and type 2 diabetes in our cohort study, because we did not look at higher tea consumption,” Li explained in the news release.
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Polyphenols are substances found in many plants that have antioxidant properties, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers noted that they can not rule out the impact of other lifestyle and health factors among the people included. Researchers did not immediately confirm details about the inclusion of sugar, milk or other common tea additives in the research.
The research has not been published in a scientific journal. The findings were reviewed by conference organizers. USA TODAY has reached out to researchers for additional information.
This is not the first time tea consumption has been linked to health benefits in recent research. A study published in the peer-reviewed European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggested that people who drink tea three or more times a week may suffer a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.