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How green tea affects blood sugar and gut health
The recent study published in Current Developments in Nutrition acted as a follow-up to a 2019 study that associated green tea consumption with lower obesity, health risks, and improved gut health when tested on rats. In the new study, researchers evaluated the gut health of 40 participants (half with metabolic syndrome, half reported as healthy) after consuming the tea extracts for 28 days. After the 28 days, the participants then took a placebo in order to evaluate the differences. During the month of green tea consumption, researchers reported lower blood sugar levels for all participants, as well as decreased gut inflammation. They came to this conclusion after finding a reduction of pro-inflammatory proteins in fecal samples and a reduction of sugar ratios in urine.
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Their hope with this study was to reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome. While it’s not a direct disease, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Along with decreased blood sugar levels and inflammation, the tea also helped to decrease “leaky gut”—a symptom of gastrointestinal disease that let toxins into the bloodstream and increases inflammation in the body. This also increases the risk of developing chronic diseases.
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The study suggests a lot of green tea
So how much green tea should you consume to boast these benefits? The study participants consumed a daily extract that was the equivalent of five cups of green tea. Drinking 40 ounces of green tea a day may seem like a lot, but luckily, it doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee or even black tea. One cup contains 28 milligrams of caffeine, so five cups of green tea equate to 140 milligrams of caffeine.
When you compare this to one 8-ounce cup of coffee, which has 96 milligrams, or black tea with 47 milligrams, drinking this amount of green tea is perfectly fine for your health. Especially when the Mayo Clinic suggests a generous limit of 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.
Unsweetened would be the best choice given how sugar-sweetened beverages increase inflammation—the opposite effect of what you’re going for with green tea consumption. It’s easy to brew, and you can drink it hot or iced, perfect for any time of year.
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