Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tea May Help Reduce Blood Sugar in Diabetics and Hot vs. Cold Brewing

As you know I love my tea. I drink it all day long; in fact I am drinking an iced green and white tea now. It is good for so many things I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t drink it whenever possible.

This latest in vitro (in the lab) study published in Food Chemistry suggests that the EGCG in tea (more is found in white and green) may reduce antiglycative action (reduce blood sugar) and have lipoprotein binding (prevent the oxidation of cholesterol) activity. Obviously these results need to be replicated in vivo but the preliminary study is interesting. Since green and white tea is so good for so many things I say why not drink it whenever you can, we do.

I had mentioned before about an article that looked at the antioxidant level of hot versus cold brewed tea. Since reading the article in Food Chemistry I have been cold brewing our tea. The study looked at whether the antioxidant activity, total phenolic content and metal-chelating activity of different teas could be affected by steeping leaves in hot or cold water. The results:

• Total Phenol Content was typically a little higher in hot tea than cold tea. However white tea, whether prepared cold was higher than the other teas and even when hot was higher than all the teas except the Lyon brand (an African and Indian black tea blend).

• Metal Chelating Activity was higher in hot tea. White tea showed the highest chelating power. Chelating activity of the tea infusions measures how effective the compounds in them can compete with ferrozine for ferrous ion.

• Antioxidant Activity in general was a little higher in hot tea than cold. The white tea was highest and higher yet when cold brewed.

• The effects of the different tea infusions in suppressing the oxidation of LDL, i.e. a test of antioxidant functionality, were also evaluated. Cold tea performed best overall in this assay with cold white tea doubling the lag time compared to hot white tea.

What does all that mean? Hot and cold teas performed similarly but there were some differences. The thing that stood out to me is that cold white tea scored extremely well on all measures. Also the charts showed that green tea also fared well. I also want to find some of this Lyons tea which did very well in the testing.

My take away message from this article is add more cold brewed white tea to our intake which is what we have done. You can find white tea at Asian markets, Whole Foods, or Wegman’s. We combine green and white tea together in our brew.

Unrelated note:

It is amazing how busy I can be yet seem to get little accomplished. Does that happen to any of you? I have exercised, watered and weeded the garden and walked to the grocery store but that is it.

The weather is much milder today so it was a very pleasant walk to the store. We used the end of the carrots and celery in juice this morning so I needed replenish our stock. One of the things I love about where we live is the ability to walk to the grocery store. It is so nice and reminds me of my time in Firenze where everyone grocery shops every day. It is so nice to have that option and not need to get into my car. ;-)

I wanted to mention my favorite snack before I forget. I have told some of you by email but never think to mention it on the blog. If you have a sweet tooth, like I do, take a medjool date and cut it in half and remove the pit. Place a little reduced fat peanut butter in the cavity where the pit was. The richness of the nut butter is a great contrast with the sweetness of the date. It makes a really good snack.

I am going to start the next flax cracker experiment before I get distracted by something else. Then I am going to read my new women’s weight lifting book. Talk to you all again soon. ;-)


  1. Ali, do you know how much caffeine (actually, theophylline) you're getting in your teas? Is that a concern to you?

  2. Cindy,

    Cold brewed tea contains less caffeine than hot. I will need to look up the specifics since I don't remember exactly but think it is 50% less. From what I remember green tea contains approx 30mg per cup so cold brewed green would be about 15mg. A cup of coffee is 180mg. So my 6 cups of green is about 90mg or 1/2 cup of coffee.

    Also since I gave up coffee, don't drink cola or energy drinks and consume little chocolate this is all the caffeine I get per day. My days of double shot of espresso to start my morning are long gone. *sniff sniff* Darn, I still miss that stuff. ;-)

    But to answer your question no I am not concerned about the caffeine. I would be if the levels were higher but not at this level. Also I think the benefits of green and white tea far outweigh any downside of a little caffeine for me.


  3. This a great post on Tea.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Jason's brother in law has diabetes... I still haven't tried a nut butter with dates. I have dates...I have nut butters...

  5. RV,

    Thanks, I do love my tea! The more I read about it the more I love it. It seems to be good for just about anything that ails you. ;-)


  6. Heather,

    I see lots of articles on diabetes that I don't post. If you want I can email those to you to forward to your brother-in-law. Let me know.

    You have to try the dates and nut butter. It is one of my favorite after exercise snacks. I get tired of a banana and nut butter and this is a good change.

    talk to you later,

  7. Hi Ali --

    thanks for the informative post and also the snack suggestion -- I want one now!

    I tried cutting coffee out two years ago and only drinking iced tea, but ended up going back to the higher kick! How did you kick your habit? Thank you!

  8. Dee,

    I was a complete espresso addict. I used to drink a minimum of 3 double shots a day. It was an unhealthy (though tasty) habit I developed in Italy.

    How I stopped won't be much help I fear. I read a lot about the benefits of tea (specially white and green) and that was what I needed to know to stop. I kept reducing the espresso I drank over a week until I was down to one shot and then gave it up. I knew from experience I would get withdrawal headaches if I went cold turkey on the espresso. I hope that helped somewhat. ;-)

    This is not the only time I have quit the caffeine. But it has been the longest run. I haven't had coffee regularly in about 2 years. I did make an iced cappuccino last summer, but only one. ;-) The smell of coffee still makes me want it.


  9. Thanks for this! I jsut copied your blog's link and emailed it to my husband to look at since he has diabeties. He hates tea, but I think if he knows it's good for diabeties he may just drink it.

  10. Carissa,

    Does you hubby dislike all tea? Have you tried flavoring it with mint or fruit? My hubby didn't always love tea and that was how I "converted" him.

    I hope your premoving planning is going well,

  11. I do enjoy my tea!
    I too, love coffee! I haven't had
    any coffee in about a month. I too have quit my coffee in the past. (Maybe 3 or 4 times)
    I think this time is it!! :) I have went longer than a month in the past. However, I have a new attitude about giving it up. Coffee has become a pain, literally! Coffee is killing my stomach. Since I have a strong aversion to pain, it has become a cinch to give it up! :)

    The date, and nut butter looks tasty.:)

  12. Naina,

    I never had any serious side effects from the caffeine in coffee so It was fairly tough to give up. My change was driven by the knowledge that tea was better for me.

    I love the smell of it which makes it hard for me to be around without drinking it. Fortunately Dan gave it up too so I only smell it when we are out. That made the transition much easier I think.

    Good luck on giving up the coffee for good,

  13. i like the idea of grocery shopping everyday, our store is about three(?) miles away..so we end up driving almost everyday.i bet in Firenze(sp?) though they actually have fresh produce everyday. at reg stores... not so much:)

  14. Michelle,

    The reason I go to the store so often is for the walk and fresh air. I am always looking for ways to add activity to my day beyond my scheduled exercise. Though while at the store I do like to check out the produce to see what looks good. ;-)

    Firenze is the Italian name for the city we call Florence, Italy. They have super markets like ours but my favorite place to shop was the little outdoor fruit and vegetable market in the city center. I will need to take the pictures of it the next time we go. Firenze is a beautiful old city. One of my favorites in Italy.

    hope you are having a good day,

  15. Ali, could you please say exactly how you make your cold-brewed tea and how soon you drink it? Thanks!

  16. Laura,

    I use room temperature filtered water and pour two cups of water over two tea bags (one white and one sencha green). I allow this to stand for 2 hours. Then I add ice and drink it within 30 minutes or so. I try to drink this every 4 hours because of the time that the catechins (flavanoids) remain active. I also sprinkle a little powdered ascorbate C (about 1/8 teaspoon) into each serving of tea. The vit C is supposed to make the catechins more bioavailable. If you really want to take it up a notch have a little dry roasted edamame with the tea. Supposedly there is a synergy between green tea and soy (but not the milk which interferres with the absorption) that makes them both more bioavailable. I hope that wasn't too much information. ;-)



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