London: The best way to slash the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is to drink at least four cups of tea a day, a study found.
A study of European populations found that people in countries that drank four cups a day - the British average - had a 20 percent lower risk of developing the illness.
The study found that benefits seemed to be most obvious among heavy tea drinkers as drinking a mere one to three cups a day didn’t lower the risk.
A research team led by Christian Herder from the Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany, said that previous analyses showed tea consumption was associated with lower incidence of type 2 diabetes.
“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,” the Daily Mail quoted the researcher as saying.
“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,” the researcher said.
“Drinking at least four cups of tea per day was associated with a 20 per cent lower risk, whereas drinking one to three cups per day did not lower the risk of diabetes compared with non-tea drinkers,” Herder said.
But it was not very clear if tea is associated inversely over the entire range of intake.
“Therefore, we investigated the association between tea consumption and incidence of type 2 diabetes in a European population,” Herder said.
The research was done in 26 centres in eight European countries, and consisted of 12,403 incident type 2 diabetes cases plus thousands of others without the disease.
Tea drinking ranged from an average of none a day in Spain to four a day in the UK.
“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,” Herder wrote.
“In line with this, no association was observed when tea consumption was studied as continuous variable. This may indicate that the protective effect of tea is restricted to people with a high tea consumption,” he added.