Coffee vs. Tea: Which is Healthier?

by Yoga Digest | May 25, 2020 1:55 am

Coffee or tea? That is the big question, isn’t it? A warm cup of tea can have you feeling very much relaxed after a possibly very stressful day while a cup of hot coffee in the morning can really perk you up. But is it healthier to drink tea or coffee?

These two beverages are undeniably the most popular in the entire world. Every day brings forth new revelations about the health benefits of either coffee or tea. However, the question of which of the two reigns supreme will be delved into further in this article. It will involve comparing coffee and tea and their individual benefits and finally coming with a verdict of the overall winner.

Richness in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are instrumental in protecting the body against any case of free radical damage. Coffee and tea are both rich in antioxidants, especially polyphenols. This chemical is responsible for contributing to their health-promoting attributes and flavor. Polyphenols in these beverages come in many groups including thearubigins, catechins and theaflavins in tea and chlorogenic acid and flavonoids in coffee. Bear
in mind, that different coffees or coffee beans have different concentrations.

A recent study indicated that some of the polyphenols in tea have the ability to inhibit the growth of colon and lung cancer cells. Furthermore, black tea may also have some properties that protect the body from cancer. On the other hand, the chlorogenic acid in coffee acts as a cancer cell growth potent inhibitor. This helps in protecting the body from liver and gastrointestinal cancer.

Furthermore, the polyphenols contained in the different types of coffee[1] or coffee beans and tea have also been linked to reducing the rate of contracting heart disease. They do this by promoting blood vessel relaxation, blocking any new blood vessels from forming to prevent feeding cancer cells and preventing plaque formation. This goes a long way in reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Caffeine Content

It remains the most consumed stimulant in the entire world and it is popular for both booth positive and adverse effects on human health. Although the content of caffeine in tea or coffee may depend on the serving size, brewing time or method of preparation, coffee almost always packs significant concentrations. This can be up to twice the concentration in tea.

Different types of coffee pack different concentrations of caffeine. For instance, decaf (instant coffee) from Robusta coffee beans with a serving size of 8 fl. Oz. contains up to 2.3mg of caffeine while brewed coffee of 8 fl. Oz. serving size may contain 95mg of caffeine.

Caffeine has been proven to improve athletic performance, mental alertness and mood while reducing the risk of contracting certain chronic diseases. It is also a very powerful central nervous system stimulant by improving simple and complex task performance. It also said to reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes since it improves insulin sensitivity.

Effect on Energy Levels

Tea and coffee are both known to boost your energy levels but do so in different ways.

Coffee

Coffee contains caffeine, which is a very instrumental ingredient in helping coffee elevate a person’s energy levels. Caffeine also has the ability to increase your alertness while reducing fatigue at the same time. It does this by increasing the levels of dopamine thus blocking adenosine. Dopamine is an essential chemical
messenger makes you feel that the jittery effect coffee has on you because it increases the heart rate. The other chemical, adenosine promotes sleep. Therefore, if it is blocked, your levels of tiredness will be greatly reduced.

You feel the effect almost immediately after taking a hot cup of coffee and this explains why you always reach for a cup of coffee when you require some energy boost. You should also note that the amount of caffeine you consume in your coffee also largely depends on the types of coffee you consume. Different types of coffee beans produce coffee with different percentages of caffeine.

Tea

When compared to coffee, tea has a significantly lower concentration of caffeine. However, it is very rich in a very powerful antioxidant referred to as the L-theanine. This chemical has an anti-stress effect that function to increase the alpha waves in the brain. This is what makes you feel calm and relaxed. Scientific evidence also shows that the consumption of tea helps in maintaining attention, focus, sharpness
and alertness. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine may be why you get a more soothing energy boost from tea than coffee.

However, it is important to note that it is better to consume loose leaf tea than tea bags. This is because loose tea is more wholesome than tea bags. The tea in a teabag is often just dust or fannings compared to loose leaf tea.Therefore, loose tea makes a better quality of tea like chamomile tea, ginger tea,
licorice root tea or peppermint tea among others.

Weight Loss Effect

Since coffee has a very high concentration of caffeine, it is very instrumental in aiding weight loss. You just have to remember that different coffees or different types of coffee beans have different concentrations of caffeine. It increases the calories burned by 3-13%. There has also been a correlation between caffeine intake and burning fat. Moreover, the polyphenols in these beverages are also very crucial in helping people lose weight but further research needs to be carried out to this end.

Verdict

The health benefits that both tea and coffee offer are similar, including anticancer, weight loss and energy-boosting attributes. Therefore, the question of which beverage offers better health benefits just depends on your sensitivity to caffeine. Both of them are safe, regardless of the type of coffee, coffee beans or loose-leaf, provided they are consumed in moderation.

Endnotes:
  1. types of coffee: https://www.tea-and-coffee.com/types-of-coffee

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