Both coffee and tea have been enjoyed by human beings for a long time. Both coffee and tea have demonstrable health benefits, and although both have gone through periods in which they were vilified for causing health problems, in the end we’re finding out that our ancestors were wise to cultivate and enjoy coffee and tea. Whether you’re enjoying a coffee service at the office or specialty tea in the comfort of your own home, here’s the lowdown on which drink is the best choice.
Perk Up Your Brain: Coffee
When it comes to getting you awake and thinking, especially at work, coffee is definitely the right choice. Nearly half of all workers in the United States report that coffee helps them to stay productive when they’re at work. Other studies have shown that drinking 200 mg of caffeine, which is easy to get in single cup office coffee but more difficult to get in tea, helps a person to identify words and phrases faster than they could otherwise. Finally, research by the FDA found that the effects of coffee can last up to six hours and include enhanced brain energy levels, better cognitive performance, and improved concentration.
Live Longer: Tea
The latest study out of the New England Journal Of Medicine found that drinking six or more cups of coffee a day was associated with a 10% lower risk of death for men and 15% lower risk for women. The effect for tea drinkers, however, was even greater. Studies out of Australia have shown significant benefit in life expectancy for women drinking two cups a day, and there is also growing evidence that tea drinking is beneficial to genes involved with preventing cancer and dealing with estrogen.
Load Up On Antioxidants: Coffee
Both coffee and tea contain lots of antioxidants. These are the same category of antioxidants as are found in foods like blueberries and broccoli. These antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and are good for repairing damaged cells; and coffee has more than twice as many of these polyphenols than tea.
Lose Some Weight: Tea
Coffee, in recent studies, has been shown to actually work against diet and exercise regimens when drunk at the wrong time. While coffee has a demonstrable effect on helping a person control blood sugar, eating a fatty meal and following it up with caffeinated coffee causes a double spike in blood sugar levels. So drink your coffee by itself at other times of the day. Tea, however, has proved useful in weight management in a few small studies. Be aware, however, that this was only green tea. So far there has been no link between black tea and weight loss.
Lower Your Cholesterol And Protect Your Heart: Tea
Tea is better. A recent study published in Molecular Endocrinology found that there is a compound in coffee that can actually block a critical regulator of cholesterol in the body. While this hasn’t proved that drinking coffee raises cholesterol levels, you don’t have to take any risk at all if you drink tea instead. Meanwhile, while both coffee and tea have been definitively linked to reduced incidence of heart disease, research out of the Netherlands found that those drinking six cups or more of tea in a day had a 36% lower risk of heart disease. Coffee drinkers at two to foru cups a day had about 20% lower risk of heart disease.
Ward Off Colon Cancer: Coffee
A comprehensive study done by the University of Southern California very recently saw decreased risk of colorectal cancer in coffee drinkers. Interestingly, this seemed to have nothing to do with the caffeine, as the decreased risk was evident both in those who drank caffeinated coffee and those who drink decaf. The more coffee a person drank, the lower their risk of getting colorectal cancer.
Many of these studies are in their early stages, and some of them are associations without proved causation as yet. But there’s one thing we can say for sure: moderate coffee and tea drinking is not going to hurt you, and it might just be really good for your health.