A long time ago, if you decided that you wanted to drink coffee instead of tea during the American revolution, you were seen as a true patriot. Well, that was many hundred years ago, but still, the decision of which of these power beverages to choose for breakfast is perhaps just as old. These days, the choice is merely a matter of personal preference, of course. As well as the potential health benefits of each.
But is one better for you than the other? Let’s weigh both on the scales of good and bad, shall we?
Health benefits of coffee
Over the years, coffee has garnered some mixed reviews. It seems like every time you turn around; a new study hits the news claiming your cup of coffee will cure, or cause, a health condition. Overall, however, most studies on coffee and health have yielded positive results.
First, coffee contains high doses of antioxidants– the compounds that help clean your cells of damaging free radicals, reduce inflammation, and slow the ageing process. But the benefits of coffee don’t stop there.
A large study from 2013 found that when people increased their coffee consumption by more than one cup a day over a four-year period, they had an 11% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, there is a clear connection between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. Coffee consumption has also been linked to the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, and colon cancer.
Health benefits of tea
Like coffee, tea is rich in antioxidants. These flavour compounds may be responsible for some of tea’s beneficial effects on health. In America, the National Cancer Institute reports that antioxidants in tea have been shown to slow the growth of cancerous tumours.
Plus, one study of over 100,000 adults revealed that people who drank tea three or more times a week experienced a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death by any cause.
Some research even suggests that the polyphenols in tea could boost good bacteria in the gut. Intriguingly, a 2019 study found that regular tea drinkers had slightly higher levels of good cholesterol and lower body mass index (BMI).
Health risks of coffee
Despite coffee’s many benefits, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Generally, this comes down to the caffeine contained in coffee, which varies, but typically averages around 100 milligrams per eight ounces.
A nu,ber of health conditions can be aggravated by caffeine, from acid reflux to overactive bladder to irritable bowel syndrome. Excess caffeine can even mess with your mental health! An older study from 2005 found that caffeine exacerbated anxiety and sleep disorders.
Pregnant women should also be careful about coffee consumption, as it is recommended to consume less than 200 milligrams of caffeine during pregnancy. If you are living with any of these conditions, but can’t do without the rich taste of coffee and its aromatic smell, try switching to decaf.
It should also be noted that coffee’s flavour compounds have a dark side. Literally. Tannins stick to the teeth, causing staining. Mitigate these effects by swishing with water or brushing your teeth after your morning cup.
Health risks of too much tea
While tea is a universal beverage all over the world (second only to water in global consumption), chugging cups and cups, or mugs and mugs, all day is not always advisable. Although black tea has only about half the caffeine of coffee at an average of around 50 milligrams per 8 ounces, this can add up over time.
Just like coffee, too much caffeine from tea may cause jitteriness and irritations to some health conditions. And like coffee, tea’s tannins can also discolour your teeth.
Conclusion of the matter
Clearly, both coffee and tea come with some impressive health benefits and when taken in moderation, very few drawbacks. So is one healthier than the other? Albeit technically? Not necessarily. But if caffeine is a concern for you, stick to decaf coffee or make the switch to a lower-caff tea.
Now the only question that remains is: Cream or sugar?