The Caffine Debate - Coffee Versus Tea
THE CAFFEINE DEBATE – COFFEE VERSUS TEA
Most beverage drinkers choose one of two sides - tea or coffee. While coffee aficionados might say that coffee tastes richer and is more stimulating, tea lovers might disagree and say that tea is the only beverage worth drinking. The fierce competition between these two popular beverages is ongoing but deciding which one you prefer can depend on a number of factors.
Hydration and Fluid Replenishment
Tea brewed in water without any milk is far more hydrating than coffee. Coffee is usually milk-based and contains a lot of caffeine, which makes it more dehydrating. Another reason tea is healthier is because it replaces the fluids you lose through sweating and perspiration, making it good for your skin as well.
Caffeine is a stimulant that helps you feel more alert. Both coffee and tea contain caffeine (unless you are drinking a decaffeinated variety), but coffee is clearly the drink that contains a larger amount. A standard cup of coffee can contain as much as 95 mg of caffeine, as compared to 45 mg in a cup of tea. Caffeine improves athletic performance, mental alertness and mood, but if consumed in large quantities can also cause palpitations, anxiety, and hyperactivity. So, it may be best to get your daily caffeine fix through a cup of black tea, rather than coffee.
The antioxidants present in both tea and coffee have cancer-preventive properties, and also reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity. However, coffee is said to contain two and a half times as many polyphenols (the cancer-preventive antioxidants) than tea, making it a clear winner in terms of antioxidant content. This said, the healthiness of the coffee can depend on the type of roast and variety of beans.
Tea is the winner in terms of a beverage that aids in weight loss. Green tea has been repeatedly proven to support weight management through multiple scientific studies, and helps to burn calories, burn fat for energy, and even reducing the appetite. A cup of coffee after a meal, however, has the opposite effect – caffeine reduces the body’s ability to clear sugar from the blood, leading to increased blood sugar levels and possibly diabetes.
Surprisingly, it is tea, and not coffee, that helps you stay alert in a more healthy and sustainable manner. Caffeine present in coffee gives you an immediate and temporary boost, but scientific evidence suggests that the effect of alertness is more due to the reversal of the tiring effects of caffeine withdrawal. Certain compounds found in tea, however, help to preserve neurons (brain cells), leading to improved cognitive function and memory retention.
WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
As with most things, moderation is key, no matter which one you choose.
Coffee has been linked to reduction of diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes, especially if you drink it black. However, you do need to be careful of the amount of coffee you drink, because strong coffee can also have negative effects on your health due to the amount of caffeine it contains. Opting for a decaf blend might be a better option.
As for tea, you should try to brew healthy teas at home, and find varieties of tea that are rich in antioxidants to ensure that you get the most health benefits from them. The versatility of its preparation, to the amount of flavours you can buy, and its health benefits make tea another great option for a morning beverage.