Coffee vs. tea: which is better for your health?

Coffee vs. tea: which is better for your health?

The battle between tea and coffee often comes down to taste and health benefits. Traditionally, tea is known to induce relaxation after a long day, while coffee increases energy and brainpower in the morning. But is one better than the other? Can you replace coffee with a cup of tea to start your day?

Both coffee and tea have been touted for their health benefits. Avid consumers of both drinks will defend their favorite choice to the death. With so much passion on both sides of the aisle, it's hard to know which drink is best for you. Here, we will compare the two drinks and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Coffee vs tea: caffeine and flavor

When it comes to deciding on the best drink for your health, coffee and tea are often the favorites. However, coffee has gotten a bad rap when it comes to its chemical makeup. Too much caffeine has been correlated with a variety of ailments including migraines and nausea. On the other hand, tea has been an integral part of traditional medicine, making it one of the best options for treating many of these ailments. To break down the top benefits of both drinks, we'll look at the chemical makeup, taste, and health benefits.

Caffeine content

Most of the debate about coffee and tea begins with their caffeine content. The health benefits of caffeine are largely based on its ability to help us stay focused and alert. Caffeine works on a chemical level to block adenosine, a neurotransmitter that triggers relaxation. Caffeine is a starting point for many people when it comes to starting the day in the best way or spending a slow afternoon.

It is a fact that coffee has more caffeine than tea. However, tea leaves contain more caffeine than unfiltered coffee beans. The difference is that coffee is a very elaborate drink, while tea is an infusion that is generally weaker.

Coffee is typically brewed at higher temperatures, which allows more caffeine molecules to be released from the beans into your cup. On the other hand, tea is brewed at lower temperatures where all the caffeine is not extracted from the leaves. Coffee also has higher levels of caffeine since we consume the whole grain. For tea, the leaves are discarded along with a significant portion of the naturally occurring caffeine.

In general, a cup of coffee of 225 grams. it has between 90 and 100 milligrams of caffeine. Some stronger roasts may contain higher levels of caffeine. True teas, like black tea and green tea, have varying amounts of caffeine. As a general rule of thumb, the strongest teas contain around 70 to 90 milligrams of caffeine. Black tea and matcha green tea tend to be the strongest teas. Some teas, like herbal teas, do not contain caffeine.

Although coffee contains more caffeine than tea, tea has other chemicals that increase attention and focus. Many teas, including true ones, contain an amino acid known as l-theanine. This amino acid helps increase alertness, but delivers energy more gently than coffee. This means you get an extra boost without the blood sugar spikes and spikes you experience when drinking coffee.

L-Theanine also helps decrease the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream. This means that you will have fewer nervous feelings. This amino acid stimulates the neurotransmitters known as GABA, which helps reduce anxiety. The result is a smoother, calmer alertness than the jolt of coffee. The combination of l-theanine and moderate levels of caffeine helps reduce symptoms of caffeine withdrawal between drinks.

Winner: Tea

Coffee takes the prize when it comes to caffeine content. However, the tea provides an energy boost that is more relaxed and has fewer side effects.

Coffee taste vs. tea

It may seem that it is not important to cover taste when deciding which drink is healthier. It doesn't matter how healthy a drink is if you hate the taste and never want to drink it. Getting the health benefits of coffee or tea means consuming each drink regularly and consistently. This becomes exponentially easier when you love the taste of your chosen beverage.

In general, coffee tends to be more bitter and stronger than tea. Coffee is more acidic resulting in bold, astringent flavors. These strong flavors and chemical profiles mean that coffee can be harsh on your stomach, especially when consumed in excessive amounts.

Tea offers thousands of flavors depending on the variety and where it is grown. Royal tea, or true tea, consists solely of green tea, black tea, white tea, and oolong tea. All other types are considered herbal teas and do not come from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Black tea and oolong tea boast the strongest flavors, with options ranging from earthy and nutty to fruity and citrus. Green tea tends to have a roasted plant flavor, while white tea is more floral.

Winner: it depends

Taste really comes down to individual preference. One person may enjoy the delicate flavor profile of floral herbs, while another may prefer the tobacco flavors of stronger beers. Tea seems to be the clear favorite, offering a much wider variety of flavors. On the other hand, if you prefer rich, malty and strong flavors, then coffee takes the cake. Whichever drink you choose, be sure to avoid adding artificial sweeteners and sugars, which can turn these healthy drinks into calorie-packed nightmares.

Health benefits of coffee vs. tea

Coffee drinkers and tea drinkers will claim that their favorite drink is the healthiest. When it comes down to it, studies have shown that both beverages offer significant health benefits.

Health benefits of coffee

Prevents type 2 diabetes

Drinking coffee every day can help prevent serious diseases like type 2 diabetes. Scientists conducted a meta-analysis of nearly 20 studies to examine why coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of diabetes. Researchers believe that the caffeine content of coffee helps to inhibit insulin resistance. The analysis showed that for every cup of coffee consumed, participants were 7% less likely to develop diabetes (1).

Increase physical performance

Caffeine raises the levels of epinephrine or adrenaline in the blood. That means you have higher energy levels and faster response times when it comes to physical activity. Studies have shown that caffeine can increase physical performance by 12% on average. This benefit is particularly useful for endurance exercises where higher adrenaline levels help you get through long periods of sustained activity (2).

Contains essential nutrients

Coffee contains naturally occurring B vitamins and compounds such as manganese and potassium. These nutrients help support organ functions and fight colds and viruses. In fact, coffee contains 11% of the recommended daily allowance of b vitamins. Just a couple of cups of coffee and you are ready to consume the right amounts of vitamins and nutrients.

Health benefits of tea

Prevents cancer

One of the most powerful health benefits of tea is its ability to prevent and even kill certain cancer cells. Research has shown a link between tea and the prevention of oxidative damage, which leads to cancer (3). Tea is packed with antioxidants that help scavenge free radicals and prevent oxidative stress that can cause liver and breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute lists several clinical trials and epidemiological studies that support tea's ability to prevent and fight cancer (4).


Green tea, along with many other teas, has the ability to speed up metabolism and increase fat loss. One study found that consuming four cups of tea per day resulted in a significant decrease in body weight and waist circumference over a period of 8 weeks. Researchers believe that the antioxidant EGCG is responsible for these weight loss benefits. EGCG works to accelerate the oxidation of fat, allowing the liver to burn and eliminate fat more efficiently (5).

Protects brain function

Regular tea drinkers have a lower risk of developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. A study published in Phytomedicine found that regular consumption of green tea increases recall and memory retention, as well as cognition (6).

Prevents heart disease

Studies have shown that tea can help lower LDL or bad cholesterol that can cause serious cardiovascular disease. Some teas can also help lower high blood pressure and improve blood circulation, decreasing the chance of blood clots and heart attacks. Experts say three to six cups of tea every day can help regulate blood pressure and prevent heart problems (7).

Improve your health with coffee and tea

When it comes down to it, tea and coffee offer health benefits. In the end, the choice is yours and will largely depend on your taste and desired results. If you are trying to cut down on your caffeine intake, tea is a great option. This is because you can have several cups throughout the day and still not consume as much caffeine as a cup or two of coffee.

That doesn't mean you have to give it up if coffee is key to starting your morning. Both beverages are healthy options when looking for an energy boost. Just remember to limit your coffee consumption to one or two cups per day to avoid side effects. For tea, you can have 4 to 5 cups per day without any negative side effects of caffeine.

Loose leaf tea contains higher amounts of antioxidants and biological compounds that are responsible for the health benefits. This is because tea bags often contain broken leaves, dust, and debris as savings measures for manufacturers. Always try to use loose leaf tea instead of tea bags for best results. If you must use tea bags, look for large envelopes that allow the leaves to expand and fully infuse.

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