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Tea vs. Coffee: Is One Better Than the Other?

<article> <section> <p>Are you the type who loves to linger over a cup of hot or iced tea? Or are you more of a “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” kind of person? Many of us have a strong loyalty to the tea leaf or the coffee bean, but in the battle of tea vs. coffee, is one really better than the other?</p> <p>Let’s face it: tea has always had a better PR campaign. Nobody is going to tell you that your Earl Grey tea habit is a problem. In fact, tea is usually considered a pretty healthy beverage choice.</p> <p>Coffee, on the other hand, has gotten the short end of the stir stick. It has a number of health benefits that we’ll share with you later. But coffee is also addictive, messes with our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">sleep</a>, and can make us shaky, grouchy, and irritable—a few side effects that have given java a bad rap. </p> <p>With so many conflicting opinions in the coffee vs. tea debate, it’s important to look at the facts. Here we’ll break down the evidence to help you decide if a daily Darjeeling or a morning iced coffee is best for your health. What you learn might just surprise you!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="coffee-tall-mug-burlap-beans"> </picture> <header>Benefits of Coffee</header> <p>We’ve all heard about the downsides of coffee. But whether you like it hot or iced, drip or espresso, coffee has many positive effects on your health. </p> <p>Your daily cup of joe could help you experience these health benefits:</p> <div class="sub-head">High antioxidant content</div> <p>Coffee has more than <i>twice</i> the antioxidant content of black tea and more than <i>four times</i> that of green tea <sup>1</sup>. Antioxidants neutralize <i>free radicals</i>—unstable atoms in the body that cause aging, <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">inflammation</a>, and disease. A few cups a day keeps free radicals at bay!</p> <div class="sub-head">Cancer- and disease-fighting properties</div> <p>A 2017 study from the American Association for Cancer Research confirmed that coffee-drinkers have a decreased risk of colorectal, liver, female breast, and head and neck cancer <sup>2</sup>. Coffee drinkers are also much less likely to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cirrhosis <sup>3</sup>. Plus, regular coffee consumption has been shown to cut risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as half <sup>4</sup>!</p> <div class="sub-head">Neuroprotective properties</div> <p>Drinking coffee can decrease the risk of neurodegenerative disease and protect cognitive function, especially in older folks. A few cups per day could decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 60 percent <sup>4</sup>. Risk of Parkinson’s drops by up to 65 percent <sup>4</sup>.</p> <div class="sub-head">Weight loss</div> <p>The caffeine in your afternoon americano increases your <i>metabolic rate</i>—how fast you burn calories—by up to 11 percent, which can help you lose weight more easily<sup>5</sup>. It also boosts the levels of adrenaline in your bloodstream, which sends a signal to your body to break down fat in fatty tissues, helping you lose weight <sup>5</sup>. We suggest adding a little <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">coconut oil</a> to your morning coffee to help you feel more full—that can help you reduce your calorie intake and lose weight.</p> <div class="sub-head">Improved mental and physical performance</div> <p>All that caffeine in your iced coffee has a stimulant effect which can improve mood, memory, and overall cognitive function <sup>4</sup>. It’s also been shown to make you feel less tired when you work out, so you can push yourself harder <sup>6</sup>. Just avoid adding a ton of sugar to your coffee as this can worsen <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">depression</a>.</p> <p>You’re probably going to want some coffee after all of the information we just dropped on you—that was a lot! But hold the espresso until you learn more about the... </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tea-pot-cup-flowers-hands"> </picture> <header>Benefits of Tea</header> <p>It’s likely you’ve heard a lot more about the benefits of tea than coffee. We’re going to zero in on tea from the <i>Camellia sinesis</i> plant here—all of your green, white, oolong, and black teas. </p> <p>Let’s go over a few ways an energizing English breakfast or chai tea could improve your health:</p> <div class="sub-head">Antioxidants</div> <p>Tea may have less antioxidants than coffee, but both green and black tea are a potent source. Tea contains a specific antioxidant called <i>EGCG</i>, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost heart health, stimulate weight loss, and protect your brain from neurodegenerative disease <sup>8</sup>. </p> <div class="sub-head">Better mental and brain health</div> <p>During a 2007 study, a group of participants drank black tea over the course of six weeks <sup>9</sup>. When faced with a stressful activity, the tea group’s levels of the stress hormone <i>cortisol</i> were much lower than participants who drank caffeine but not tea. Like coffee, tea can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, and other neurodegenerative diseases.</p> <div class="sub-head"><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Weight loss</a></div> <p>The EGCG antioxidant in tea releases hormones that tell your body to break down fat <sup>8</sup>. It can also stimulate your metabolism, helping you burn as much as eight percent more calories than non-tea drinkers <sup>8</sup>. Some studies have even shown that a pre-workout green tea could help you burn more fat and keep burning it when the workout is done <sup>8</sup>. Caffeinated teas can also give you a boost, helping you work out harder to get in shape quicker.</p> <div class="sub-head">Disease and cancer prevention</div> <p>More research needs to be done, but many studies have shown that tea—particularly green tea—could decrease the risk of colon, breast, ovary, prostate, and lung cancers <sup>10</sup>. Some studies show tea may also decrease blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance to prevent Type 2 diabetes <sup>11</sup>. Green tea <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">extract</a> is especially effective.</p> <div class="sub-head">Lower cholesterol and blood pressure</div> <p><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Green tea</a> in particular has shown promise when it comes to lowering LDL—the <i>bad cholesterol</i> <sup>12</sup>. Tea may also have a positive impact on blood pressure, particularly in those who already have high blood pressure <sup>12</sup>. Coffee has been shown to have a neutral or even negative effect on these same functions.</p> <p>It seems both coffee and tea have some great benefits. But let’s hold off on the coffee vs. tea championship match until we know more about… </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="computer-doctor-patient-desk"> </picture> <header>The Negatives</header> <p>Most of the negatives of both coffee and tea can be chalked up to something they have in common: caffeine. Although the amount of caffeine in tea or coffee is generally considered safe, too much caffeine can have some negative effects on your health <sup>13</sup>. </p> <p>Symptoms of too much caffeine include:</p> <ul> <li>Anxiety</li> <li>Increased blood pressure</li> <li>Digestive issues</li> <li>Fatigue</li> <li>Rapid heart rate</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Insomnia</a></li> <li>Frequent urination</li> </ul> <p>Drinking caffeine regularly can cause a chemical dependence. That means if you take a day off from your normal coffee or tea, you might experience some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. We tend to associate this more with coffee drinkers, but because the addictive ingredient in tea is also caffeine, it’s possible for the tea lovers out there to experience this as well.</p> <p>Although coffee and tea are often associated with dehydration, much of this can be chalked up to the caffeine effect as well. Caffeine is a diuretic—the more you drink, the more you pee. But research generally shows that coffee and tea are just as hydrating as they are diuretic, making this negative mostly bunk <sup>14</sup>.</p> <p>Of course, you can avoid this by drinking decaf instead. Just make sure that you know how they were processed because some manufacturers use chemical solvents to take the zip out of your coffee or tea.</p> <p>Coffee and tea are great low-calorie drink choices. An eight-ounce cup of coffee or tea by itself contains just two calories. But we run into trouble when we stray from a simple cup of joe or pot of tea.</p> <p>Many of us prefer our coffee or tea with a little sugar to make it more tasty. But when we take it to the extreme—loading on flavor syrups and whipped cream—the benefits of coffee and tea can’t outweigh the harm of all those carbs and sugars. </p> <p>We’ve tackled the pros and cons of coffee and tea, so now let’s find out…</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="hot-beverage-morning-bed-steam"> </picture> <header>Does Tea Have the Same Effect as Coffee?</header> <p>Anyone who has tried coffee and tea knows that they offer two completely different experiences.</p> <p>If it’s take-on-the-world <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">energy</a> you’re after, you’ll find more of a boost in a cup of coffee. An eight-ounce cup of classic brew contains 95-165mg of caffeine. </p> <p>The same amount of black tea contains 25-48mg while green tea has 25-29mg <sup>15</sup>. Tea is perfect if you’re looking for a gentle burst of energy.</p> <p>But as we’ve shown here, when it comes down to the positives and negatives, coffee and tea come out just about even.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-drinking-coffee-white-mug"> </picture> <header>Should I Replace Coffee with Tea?</header> <p>We’d say, it depends on the health effects you want, your preference, and your doctor’s recommendation! Be sure to ask your primary care physician what they suggest.</p> <p>In general, if coffee is your go-to, then stick with it. If an iced tea is your idea of heaven, there’s no need to give it up. So long as you’re mindful of your caffeine consumption and pass on the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">sugar</a>, feel free to drink what you like!</p> <p>The health benefits of both beverages for disease prevention, energy, overall health, and more make either a great choice. So let’s raise our mochas and macchiatos, our ceylons and senchas—-and drink to good health! </p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Food servings providing at least 1 mg polyphenols</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Associations of Coffee Drinking and Cancer Mortality</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Coffee and Liver Health</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Can Coffee Increase Your Metabolism and Help You Burn Fat?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion </a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate): Benefits, Dosage, and Safety</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress </a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Tea and Cancer Prevention</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Green tea catechins and blood pressure</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">9 Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Is Coffee Actually Dehydrating?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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