Tea vs. Coffee: Which Is Better for You?
When you awaken to a fresh new morning, what beverage do you crave? Do you look forward to a kick from a freshly brewed hot cup of joe, or would you rather enjoy a more subtle hit of caffeine from a cozy cup of tea?
Outside of plain ol' water, coffee and tea are some of the most commonly consumed drinks in the world. Contrary to what some may think, both of these beverages are healthy and are rich sources of caffeine and antioxidants.
However, when it comes to coffee drinkers and tea drinks, both avid consumers both claim that their favorite beverage is the healthiest choice over the other one. There is so much passion when it comes to the fierce debate between coffee enthusiasts, and tea lovers, that it makes it hard to tell which beverage is 'actually' a healthier choice for you.
Traditionally tea has been seen as more of a drink for end of the day relaxation, while coffee is used for an energy boost to jump-start your day. But are these stereotypes even true? Is one of these beverages better than the other? And can you even replace your morning coffee kick-off with a cup of tea?
The countless arguments being waged over the superiority of tea over coffee, and coffee over tea making it difficult to decide between the two. What should we do?
Today, we're going to take to look at the perks of both drinks and use hard facts and scientific evidence to examine the similarities between the two drinks, so you’ll have the information you need to make an educated decision on which popular hot beverage is the healthiest choice for you.
Benefits Of Coffee
1. Boosts Adrenaline
As you all probably already know, coffee is an excellent source of caffeine, making it an amazing pre-workout drink that'll both enhance and prolong exercise performance.
When you drink caffeine, it raises your levels of epinephrine or adrenaline (the hormone responsible for the “fight or flight” response) in your blood. Adrenaline releases a shot of energy, which causes a noticeable increase in quicker response times and heightened strength during physical activity.
Research has shown that consuming coffee an hour before physical exertion can increase physical performance by around 12% on average and help to maintain energy during periods of sustained activity.
Another bonus from coffee is that it'll help you improve your weight loss results. The caffeine hit can increase your body’s ability to break down fat cells.
Essentially, coffee will help you burn fat and increase positive workout results, sounds like a win-win!
2. Increased Focus
If you've ever wondered whether or not people drinking coffee in the morning to help them wake up or drinking coffee for an afternoon pick me up to help them focus on work was just a placebo. Well, yep, it's no placebo - it‘s all true, and backed by science.
Coffee is a mood enhancer that can support focus and help people stay alert. Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, improving mood and helps you feel more alert and energetic.
Caffeine is believed by researchers to work by acting as an adenosine receptor antagonist.
When adenosine binds to its receptors, it slows down nerve cell activity along neural pathways. Moreover, caffeine binds to the same receptors without reducing neural activity and increasing excitability in the brain.
3. Reduce Health Risks
Some pieces of observational research have found that drinking coffee every day can help in preventing various health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
For example, a study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers discovered that: "People who increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over four years had an 11% lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who made no changes to their coffee consumption"
It is believed that coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes because the caffeine content may have the ability to lower your insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, coffee can reduce your risk of stroke by lowering your blood pressure and, according to a new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, drinking coffee regularly may help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
4. Contains Essential Nutrients
Coffee contains several important naturally occurring nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
These nutrients are essential to life and health, providing us with energy, and can benefit the human body in various ways.
Benefits Of Tea
1. Beneficial Variety
Unlike coffee, most teas boast specific beneficial functions. And if you want to ditch caffeine, herbals versions of tea don’t contain any caffeine at all.
Tea drinkers can target their own needs directly with the type of tea they decide to drink and there is far are more variety of benefits to choose from, because while coffee is made from one plant, tea is made from numerous vital plants.
2. Reduce Health Risks
Just like with coffee, many studies have shown the beneficial effects of tea in reducing the risk of serious health conditions.
Firstly, research has shown that people who drink green tea daily have a reduced chance of stroke and heart attacks. A study conducted by the American Heart Association journal Stroke found that stroke survivors who drank at least seven cups of green tea per day lowered their risk of death by 62% versus non-tea drinkers. In parallel, the risk was also cut among heart attack survivors, except by 53%.
Regular tea drinkers may also have a lower risk of developing neurological diseases. A study conducted on rats showed that: "oolong and green teas could reduce the deteriorations of cognitive ability, brain degenerative changes and the aging process in senescence accelerated-prone mice."
Researchers believe that the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects of tea and its components are what contribute to neuroprotection, and are why 'tea' has been linked to lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, increased immunity, and even cancer. Yes, tea is believed to help prevent cancer.
3. Weight Loss
A cup of tea every day isn't likely to get you to drop a pant size right away. But some research suggests tea especially green tea may help you see weight loss results faster (when paired with a sensible diet and physical activity, of course).
The reason why green tea may be the closest thing we have to a weight-loss elixir is that this beverage can rev up your metabolism, regulate blood sugar, and increase fat loss.
Plus, honestly, tea is a great drink substitute as it's usually calorie-free or low-calorie unlike soda, soft drinks, and well, even most coffee drinks from your nearest coffee house. Yes, while coffee is healthy, there are many ultra-fattening additions to store and cafe-bought coffees.
Take for example the Dunkin' Iced Mocha Swirl Latte with whole milk: it has a whopping 32 grams of sugar and if you swap it for a morning cup of tea instead, you'll be cutting its 220 calories from your daily total.
4. Stress Reduction
If you're feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and stressed, tea might just help boost your mood and help you find your zen.
More research needs to be done to find out exactly why this is - but researchers have found that drinking tea lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Because green tea contains folate, regular tea drinking might be able to lower the risk of developing depression. Tea consumption may also have a positive effect on post-stroke depression. This effect correlates to the antioxidant activity and phytochemical composition of tea.
Which Drink Is Better? Comparison: Tea vs Coffee
It seems clear that both coffee and tea are excellent sources of important compounds, which can help protect against various health conditions. What does this mean for the great coffee vs tea debate?
Unfortunately, there is no right answer. Whether coffee is better than tea or vice versa depends on what you, the drinker, is looking for. So, let's now take a close side by side look at tea vs coffee:
If you're looking for a drink for increased energy?
Coffee contains more caffeine than tea, so it'll give you a faster and bigger hit of energy, though tea provides more sustained energy. Why is this?
Tea is lower in caffeine, but unlike coffee, it's rich in L-theanine, a unique antioxidant amino acid that stimulates your brain and provides anti-stress effects. Consuming L-theanine along with caffeine (just like in tea) may help you maintain balanced alertness and focus.
The bottom line is: For immediate energy hit boost, pick coffee. For a soothing longer-lasting energy boost, opt for tea.
If you're looking for a caffeine kick?
Both coffee and tea contain caffeine. Nevertheless, coffee contains a much higher count. One cup of coffee contains around 80 to 100 mg of caffeine and in contrast, one cup of tea usually contains around 30 to 50 mg of caffeine.
Most of us know that caffeine is a powerful nutrient that can improve memory, decrease fatigue, and improve your mental functioning. But it's also important that you don't consume too much caffeine. Some of the severe effects of caffeine toxicity include abdominal pain, increased blood acid levels, and reduced blood flow to the heart.
That's why the FDA says to not consume more than 400 milligrams a day—that's about four or five cups of coffee. You should consume less than that depending on caffeine tolerance.
For a quick high-caffeine hit, opt for espresso, cold-brew coffee, black coffee, and teas with higher caffeine contents, like black teas, yerba mate, and matcha green tea. If you're sensitive to caffeine then opt for lower caffeine teas like white tea or herbal teas.
If you're looking for something easier and cheaper?
For a quick, easy, and cheap drink, tea is probably the way to go. All you have to do to make a cup of tea is place teabag in a cup of hot water, remove when brewed, and voila.
Another convenient perk of tea is that while the price of both tea and coffee widely vary. Generally, tea tends to be much less expensive per cup than coffee, especially when buying a cup at a cafe, coffee will be considerably more expensive.
If you're looking for a low-calorie beverage?
It can be hard to find a unique and flavorful beverage that won't up your calorie intake and hit you with a whole lot of sugar. Honestly, both java and tea make for great healthy tasty drinks.
However, if you don't like black coffee, your cup of joe will most likely include a sweetener and/or creamer of some kind, which will add calories, and even sugar depending on how you want your coffee. Tea on the other hand has no calories while offering so many flavors and varieties, that you're bound to find a tea that appeals to your tastes, without having to get a sweetened tea for flavor.
If you want a drink rich in antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidition and protect your body against free radical damage, which may help in preventing various chronic diseases. Tea and coffee are both fantastically rich sources of antioxidants, which contribute to many of their health-promoting properties.
While both coffee and tea are high in antioxidants, it is believed that there are more antioxidants in coffee than in tea.
However, while tea isn't as high in antioxidants as coffee is, because teas can be sipped all day long, they can make for better sources of antioxidants than coffee. Tea is perfectly healthy for most people to sip on throughout the day. You can have five to eight cups of tea per day and it's usually totally healthy. But due to the high caffeine in coffee, high consumption of it can make you jittery and more than two cups of coffee per day is not recommended.
If you were to drink seven cups of tea or two cups of coffee, when you compare the number of antioxidants between both portions consumed per day, tea would win.
There you have it!
Like we mentioned earlier, when it comes to coffee vs tea, there is no right answer. But you should have all the answers you need when it comes to deciding which of these beverages is better for you.
Both tea and coffee offer health benefits, but in the end, you know your body best, so listen to it and give it what it needs.
If you're trying to reduce your caffeine intake, but still want a drink that is rich in vital compounds and energizing, then tea is the option for you. With tea, you also have more control over the specific beneficial function for your body and mind's needs and you'll have more control over finding a flavor that works for your flavor profile, without add-ins like sweeteners.
That doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to coffee if you love it. Coffee is still a healthy and vitally enriched beverage of choice and great for a quick energy boost.
Just remember to keep your coffee consumption to around 2 cups of coffee per day to avoid side effects and for tea, you can drink 4 to 7 cups per day. There is no one size fits all choice, let your body's feelings guide you and follow what your body tells you.
Additionally, you can always have the best of both worlds and just enjoy a cup of tea or cup of coffee depending on your mood and vibe.
After all, you know yourself best!
Now, what're you waiting for? All this beverage talk has got us craving a hot tea. Why don't you join us in enjoying a health-promoting and flavorful cup of tea? Here at Wise Ape Tea, we combine premium tea with adaptogenic herbs, crafted to create bright, flavorful organic wellness-driven tea combos. This is the evolution of tea.
This informative article is written, by Sophia Mckenzie. Sophia is head content creator and writer, for several premium websites, where her expertise lie in health, nutrition, and wellness. Her content is heavily focused on providing and sharing doable solutions to help people truly thrive, and live their happiest, healthiest, fulfilled life.