Coffee vs tea. This debate is so old in time that we can barely remember when it started. Taste and fondness aside, health-conscious people always have a question in their mind:
“Of these two beverages, which comes out as a healthier choice?”
Many coffee-drinkers who have spent their entire life drinking this wake-up drink boast about its benefit. In contrast, many tea lovers swear on its advantage with their reputation.
Yet, we are not here for another anecdotal debate. The winner is the one who has more benefit while minimizing the harm, scientifically speaking.
In such criteria, tea comes out as a more prominent competitor. This article will tell you everything about the healthy side of these beverages. It also explains why some people should opt for this drink instead of coffee. Read on for more.
What Are Coffee And Tea Made From?
Coffee and tea have caffeine content regardless of their origin. But caffeine content and other nutrients are different in their types and how producers process them.
For example, there are two types of coffee beans, Robusta and Arabica. Besides flavor and aroma differences, they also have different caffeine content. While Robusta is much more potent with a 2.7% content, Arabica only has about half of that, at 1.5%.
Instead, traditional tea comes from Camellia sinensis leaves. The most prominent types of tea are oolong, green, and black. They are not different in their origin but in how they harvest and process the leaves.
Black tea is the fermented type, while green is not fermented. Matcha is the condensed and powder form of green tea. Oolong is semi-oxidized, though.
With these processing methods, black tea takes the crown in caffeine percentage. Oolong, and green, respectively, follow the rank.
Another type of tea is herbal. Tea-makers don’t produce this type from the Camellia sinensis plant. It comes from herbs and flowers such as peppermint, ginger, or chamomile and has zero caffeine.
Now that we’ve known what they are. Let’s dig into the benefits.
Health Benefits Of Coffee Vs Tea
Generally speaking, tea always has less caffeine than coffee. This drink usually contains 10-80mg caffeine per cup. Yet coffee often has 100-200mg, which is more than double.
Caffeine is a very potent substance with its famous pick-me-up benefit. But it also has many unwanted side effects.
If you are sensitive to this chemical, an overdose of caffeine can make you feel very unpleasant. Symptoms range from light-headedness, increased heart rate, dizziness, anxiety, and insomnia. Some cases are even more severe if you have heart-related problems.
You should use coffee with more regard to your health status. Yet, teas are much friendlier for caffeine sensitives. They have an amino acid named l-theanine that slows down the absorbing speed of caffeine.
In other words, this drink has a more sustainable and smoother jitter effect.
L-theanine also stimulates GABA, a neurotransmitter known to reduce stress and anxiety. With it, tea gives you a smooth experience even after the caffeine fades away. That sounds better than the collapsing effect of coffee.
If you are allergic or intolerant to caffeine, tea is the better choice here.
Besides, if you are into an intense working day that requires more alertness, coffee is the way to go. It’s also great for a hard workout.
Another effect of caffeine is raising adrenaline. This hormone regulates your reaction to acute performance in the gym or any other sport.
Yet, be aware of its potential damage. Even for healthy, insensitive-to-caffeine people, too much caffeine can cause many inconveniences.
You may find it hard to sleep, have muscle pain, and have high blood pressure. Most people experience faded effects the longer they use it. Later, they need more and more to sustain the initial boost.
To reduce the side effects, try avoiding consuming coffee with an empty stomach.
To conclude, tea is the clear winner here for everyone’s general purpose. It is much safer and while still providing the boosting effect. This beverage doesn’t cause discomfort or as much harm to your health.
What’s more, herbal type is the only option for caffeine allergies. Coffee is a more exclusive drink, and people should use it with caution.
An effect of caffeine is that it stimulates the muscles in your colon. It makes your colon and intestines contract to have a more effortless bowel movement. That is why after a cup of coffee, especially with milk, some people have a compulsion to go number two.
While this may upset an empty stomach, it also helps with your excretion. It releases your burden if you are having trouble with that.
With an empty stomach, you can feel uncomfortable with coffee or tea. It’s because the consumption causes a rise in your stomach acid. Try drinking these products when you are full or at least with food and check the result.
If you still experience stomach discomfort, use a less acidic product. Also, try home remedies such as adding ginger and turmeric.
Studies show that green or herbal tea is good for digestion in general. Yet, the black type is more processed, so it might not be as good for your digestive system.
So in this regard, again, tea takes an edge over its counterpart with a more visible benefit.
Weight Loss Benefit
Some researchers have found links between caffeine and weight loss. It is mainly due to the raised metabolism caused by the component.
Caffeine speeds up metabolism when raising your heart rate and alertness. It increases your calories output from 3%-13%. The effect will remain for about 3 hours after consumption. That results in around 100 calories burned.
Many studies also show that chlorogenic acid is present in coffee. The acid limits the creation of new fat cells. That’s why people believe that it has a fat-burning effect.
What’s more, an intense workout session surely increases the number of calories burned. This result happens both during and after the workout has ended.
If you have a high-intensity workout (i.e., lifting weight, HIIT, sprinting), the result is more prominent with the so-called afterburn effect.
Akin to coffee, tea also proves its weight loss properties via some research.
They found some polyphenols such as theaflavin in this beverage. Theaflavin had shown its potential in fat metabolism.
Theaflavin restrains pancreatic lipase. This element plays an essential role in breaking down fat molecules from food.
Researchers also realized that tea could affect the microbiota in your gut. It results in a healthier digestive system and helps weight management.
Some other studies suggest that tea can also cut down hunger hormones. The result is lower cravings for food. The less you eat, the more weight you lose, after all.
In short, it’s a tie. Both are excellent for burning fat and losing weight. Consider consuming those drinks regularly to improve your fitness.
Coffee is high in B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, folate, and pantothenic acid). They aid in energy output and neurological system function. It also helps you feel better throughout the day.
Choline, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium are minerals found in coffee. They support hydration and neurological system regulation. Polyphenols, some antioxidants found in plants, are also present in coffee. These nutrients have illness prevention properties in studies.
Although black tea may not be as rich in B-vitamins as coffee, it does include a modest quantity of folate, comparable with coffee. Tea is packed with some minerals, such as manganese. Theaflavin, flavonols, quercetin, and catechins are also rich in this beverage.
The green variant has a similar nutritional profile as the black one, although the minerals and vitamin compounds in this type are different based on when it is collected. This unoxidized type is high in polyphenols, some of which are listed above.
Green and black tea have identical total polyphenol content. Yet oxidation levels after processing vary.
Both coffee and tea contain trace levels of omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9, but they are too little to deliver a significant benefit in one’s diet or overall health.
However, be aware that both drinks have a diuretic effect, which can cause you to go number one more often.
In terms of nutrition content, these two drinks are equal. You should expect a different yet beneficial health boost from either of them.
Antioxidants, Longevity, And Cognitive Functions
As mentioned above, the two beverages are abundant in polyphenols and added components such as antioxidants. Aside from illness-prevention effects, they also feature anti-inflammatory potentials.
Keri Gans, MS, RDN, and nutritionist from The Small Change Diet, said that there are associations between tea and a lower chance of cancer, heart conditions, combined with a better immune system.
A profound effect of polyphenols and other powerful components in tea is that they help enhance brain function and focus. The main driver behind this is catechins, beneficial for our brains, shown by many studies. Green tea is especially rich in this.
According to Gans, researchers found coffee is associated with lower risks of cognitive diseases such as Parkinson’s. Aside from that, its consumption can reduce hormonal disorders like diabetes type-II, cirrhosis, or digestive conditions like colon cancer and heart conditions.
Unlike its counterpart, coffee has a different but yet potent profile of polyphenols. Hydroxycinnamic acid is a powerful component in coffee, with the effects of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, etc.
Other antioxidants are very effective when fighting off free radicals and oxidative stress, which can cause aging and increase the risk of cancer.
Some valuable properties such as anti-collagenase, anti-microbial are also spotted in coffee. They help fight against aging, protect from UV and harmful chemicals.
What is even more surprising is that people with nearly double the recommended intake of coffee (6-7 cups/day) have the most significant reduction in mortality. The result comes from research on half a million people in 2018.
The study also indicated that a lower chance of death is generally related to coffee consumption.
Considering the potentials of powerful antioxidants in coffee, it is clearly effective.
That said, don’t forget that people in Blue Zones, a.k.a where people live the longest, such as Okinawa, Japan, tend to consume a lot of tea in their daily intake. Coffee, yet, is not as popular amongst the 100-years-old club.
The two candidates are both great when it comes to longevity and protecting effect. Bear in mind that too much of anything is bad!
How To Beneficially Drink Coffee And Tea?
Caffeine might have many side effects on your cognitive and digestive functions. Yet, scientists suggest that moderate consumption poses no problem.
That is, you should limit your coffee intake to no more than 4 cups or less than 400mg of caffeine per day. Pregnant women, children, seniors, and caffeine sensitives should have a lower limit than that.
A better choice for people who dislike coffee and are sensitive to caffeine is tea. It is much easier for your system with a steady and slower release of caffeine, while it is fun to drink.
For the daily intake, 3-4 cups of tea are okay for most people. If you still find adverse effects with this drink, avoid black tea or matcha since they are richer in caffeine.
Instead, opt for herbal tea such as ginger, peppermint, etc., for a lifelong beneficial effect and soothing feelings.
We hope that our article is enough to answer your question. When it comes to health, a comparison between coffee vs tea is never outdated. In short, for most people with a health-conscious mind, tea is somewhat a better choice for daily consumption.
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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).