Tea or Coffee: Which is Healthier for You?
Is tea or coffee better for us health wise? A debate that steadfast tea and coffee drinkers have taken their sides on. However, when it comes down to facts, which drink obsession actually has more health benefits? Let’s first point out that this is considering coffee and tea that is not loaded with sweeteners, sugar, creamers, milk, and all that other junk that people use to make things more bearable to get their caffeine fix. That stuff takes away from the benefits, counteracting any health gain by filling you up with things that hurt your body. So let’s get to it, which is better?
Tea has been around for centuries, the legend being that an emperor in China in 2737 BC accidentally created tea while boiling water under a tree. The leaves from the tree fell into the boiled water and he ended up thoroughly enjoying the flavor upon drinking it. Tea then became popular among scholars and priests in China as they drank tea to stay awake during their studies and prayer.
Coffee was said to be discoverd much later when a goat herder in the Ethiopian highlands noticed his goats would become extremely jittery when they eat the berry off of a specific plant. Coffee then spread to monks in monasteries, where they drank the substance to stay alert while praying.
Both drinks were founded and spread due to their caffeination. If we were to base this competition of superiority between the two based off of caffeine, coffee would be the clear winner. A cup of tea has about half the dose ( 40 milligrams) of the stimulant caffeine than you would find in a cup of filtered black coffee (115 milligrams). So what does each do to the human body beyond the obvious spike in energy?
A study was conducted in which subjects were dosed with the equivalent amounts of coffee and tea. All subjects involved claimed to feel relatively the same, perky and energized. Given, this is subjective because the study was based on personal opinion on how they felt. Clear differences have failed to emerge in less subjective measures of concentration such as reaction times. However, what this study did show is that when you dose up tea to match the equivalent of coffee, the mind has proven to be sharper and more alert.
In the end, the scientists that conducted this study concluded that tea isn’t necessarily the final winner. Our results could potentially be determined by less regarded factors such as the participants’ preference of drink. Whether it is the smell, taste, or sentimental feeling they got from drinking their preferred drink, these factors could all affect the final say in which drink made them feel more alert.
Winner: Surprisingly, tea seems to deliver just as powerful of a wake up call as coffee. It’s a draw.
How did you sleep?
It is important to consider how you feel at all times of the day when determining the superior drink. The biggest differences between coffee and tea may present themselves when you are ready to snooze. Comparing individuals who drink the same amount of tea or coffee on a regular basis each day, researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK confirmed that although both drinks lend similar benefits to your attention during the day, coffee drinkers seems to have a harder time having a rested sleep at night. This may be due to the higher caffeine content. Tea drinkers were found to have longer and more restful slumbers.
Coffee and tea are both guilty of turning our pearly whites a dingy shade of yellow, but which is worse? Most dentists seem to agree that the natural pigments in tea are more likely to stick to dental enamel than the pigments of coffee. So, if you are looking for a perfect smile, coffee seems to be drink of choice or at least the lesser of two evils since it will still yellow your teeth… a little less, though!
Easing troubled souls.
There has been some evidence found that tea can soothe your nerves. Regular tea drinkers tend to exhibit a calmer physiological response to unsettling situations, such as public speaking. People who drink 3 cups a day have a 37% lower risk of depression than those who do not drink tea.
Coffee, on the other hand, does not share this reputation. Coffee drinkers often report that they feel like their nerves are on edge more often than tea drinkers tend to say. However, don’t go breaking your coffee pot just yet, there is evidence that shows that coffee may protect against long term mental health problems. It has been found through a recent meta-analysis that coffee reduces your risk of developing depression by around 8%. Not bad! However, this does not apply to all caffeine. In contrast to coffee and tea, drinking beverages such as sweetened soda drinks will increase your risk of developing mental health issues.
Winner: (Based on limited evidence) It’s a draw.
Health benefits galore!
Yet even more studies suggest that both coffee and tea have other health benefiting qualities. Drinking a few cups of either drink a day appears to reduce risk of diabetes and moderately protect the heart. The evidence for heart protection is slightly stronger for coffee, however, tea seems to be slightly protective from developing various cancers, potentially due to its antioxidants.
Winner: Once again, a draw.
Interestingly enough, there is little difference between the two drinks other than personal taste. That being said, it is important to remember that this is based on drinking coffee and tea. This has no sweetener, milk, sugar, or any flavor enhancing or altering substances. Just good ol’ plain hot bean and leaf water. Adding that junk counteracts the benefits through consuming whatever the heck they put in coffee creamers and all the sugar that comes with it. Enjoy the health benefits without the additives! They are both relatively great for you on their own!