In a new study, Japanese researchers found that drinking plenty of both green tea and coffee is linked to a lower risk of dying from any cause among people with type 2 diabetes.
They found drinking 4 or more daily cups of green tea plus 2 or more of coffee was linked to a 63% lower risk of death over a period of around 5 years.
The study was done by a team at Kyushu University in Japan and elsewhere.
People with type 2 diabetes are more prone to circulatory diseases, dementia, cancer, and bone fractures.
And despite an increasing number of effective drugs, lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and diet, remain a cornerstone of treatment.
Previously published research suggests that regularly drinking green tea and coffee may be beneficial for health because of the various bioactive compounds these beverages contain.
But few of these studies have been carried out in people with diabetes.
The researchers therefore decided to explore the potential impact of green tea and coffee, separately and combined, on the risk of death among people with the condition.
They tracked the health of 4923 Japanese people with type 2 diabetes (average age 66) for an average of just over 5 years.
The people each filled in a 58-item food and drink questionnaire, which included questions on how much green tea and coffee they drank every day.
Some 607 of the participants didn’t drink green tea; 1143 drank up to a cup a day; 1384 drank 2-3 cups, and 1784 drank 4 or more.
Nearly 1000 of the participants didn’t drink coffee; 1306 drank up to 1 cup daily; 963 drank a cup every day; while 1660 drank 2 or more cups.
The team found that compared with those who drank neither beverage, those who drank one or both had lower odds of dying from any cause, with the lowest odds linked to drinking higher quantities of both green tea and coffee.
Drinking up to 1 cup of green tea every day was linked to 15% lower odds of death; while drinking 2-3 cups was linked to 27% lower odds.
Getting through 4 or more daily cups was linked to 40% lower odds.
Among coffee drinkers, up to 1 daily cup was linked to 12% lower odds; while 1 cup a day was linked to 19% lower odds. And 2 or more cups were linked to 41% lower odds.
The risk of death was even lower for those who drank both green tea and coffee every day: 51% lower for 2-3 cups of green tea plus 2 or more of coffee; 58% lower for 4 or more cups of green tea plus 1 cup of coffee every day; and 63% lower for a combination of 4 or more cups of green tea and 2 or more cups of coffee every day.
The biology behind these findings isn’t fully understood, explain the researchers.
Green tea contains several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, including phenols and theanine, as well as caffeine.
Coffee also contains numerous bioactive components, including phenols. As well as its potentially harmful effects on the circulatory system, caffeine is thought to alter insulin production and sensitivity.
The study is published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
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