Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

Benefits of green tea keep flowing

Green tea does much more than warm you up. The antioxidant compound found in the ancient beverage may help manage blood sugar, according to researchers.

It can be easy going green — especially when food scientists keep finding new reasons to add green tea to your diet. The latest research shows that an antioxidant compound found in green tea may help diabetics manage blood sugar spikes.

Penn State University researchers fed the green tea antioxidant to lab mice, along with a serving of cornstarch. The animals’ blood glucose level still spiked in reaction to the starch — but only by about half as much as the levels in mice that received the cornstarch without the antioxidant.

The outcome led researchers to believe that a serving of about one-and-a-half cups of green tea may help humans better manage their blood sugar.

That’s a big benefit — but it’s not the only one that this super-beverage boasts. Other research has shown that a compound found in green tea can cause cancerous tumors to shrink, and yet another study suggests that products containing green tea can be effective sunscreens. In fact, green tea has been credited with fighting cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, preventing diabetes and delaying the onset of dementia.

One complaint about the research into green tea’s health benefits is that the work has been confined mostly to the lab and not tested in the real world. But a more troubling concern is also apparent in the research: The problem is, people in the United States generally just don’t like to drink green tea. According to a survey from the American Institute for Cancer Research, green tea is actually the least popular non-alcoholic beverage among Americans.

The next question for researchers, then, might not be how green tea can help health, but how to get people to drink it.

Learn the benefits of "going green" in this Health in a Heartbeat episode.

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