The Benefits of Real Tea and Coffee:
Next to water, coffee and tea are some of the most consumed beverages in the world. Tea is often put on a pedestal for it’s widely discussed health benefits. Coffee gets the short end of the stick and conjures up images of stressed out people chugging coffee and chomping on doughnuts. The truth is, if used correctly, there are health benefits to them both. Read on to learn the health benefits of tea and coffee so you can decide what is right for you.
Health Benefits of Tea
Tea can help protect your cells
Tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. These polyphenols help tealeaves protect themselves from environmental damage. When we brew the leaves and drink the tea, that protection is transferred on to us. In our bodies, they help protect our cells from oxidative damage.
Tea can decrease stress
Tea has an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine increases serotonin levels, which can help reduce stress symptoms. Studies have also shown that drinking tea consistently can help reduce the impact of cortisol, your stress hormone. In short, tea can make you feel good!
Tea can increase your focus and concentration
The combination of L-theanine and caffeine has been shown to improve memory and focus.
Things to consider:
- These health benefits are based on tea with no cream or added sugars.
- They are also based on consuming fairly large quantities (4-10 glasses per day). Consider icing some green tea and keeping it in your refrigerator or using it as a base for smoothies to increase the quantity you are drinking each day.
- Although caffeine can be beneficial to focus and concentration, too much of it can hurt sleep and increase anxiety. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the tea the less caffeine. So black is the most caffeinated, then red, then green and finally white. Consider switching to green or white tea in the afternoon so it doesn’t impact your sleep.
Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee can be good for your heart
A study of 25,000 coffee drinkers, who consumed 3-5 cups of coffee per day, showed that they had lower amounts of calcium deposits on the coronary arteries. These calcium deposits are an indicator of heart disease.
Coffee can be good for your brain
A recent meta-analysis has shown that the caffeine in coffee may have a protective impact on your brain. It is hypothesized that the caffeine may minimize the buildup of amyloid protein plaques. These amyloid protein plaques can cause mild cognitive impairment and have been linked to Alzheimer’s. It is important to note this was based on a moderate amount of caffeine (1-2 cups per day). More coffee may actually have a negative impact on memory function.
Coffee can be good for your liver
A 2006 study showed that drinking coffee decreased cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by 22%. There was also a follow-up study in 2014 that linked decaffeinated coffee to a reduction in liver enzymes. This suggests that it might not be the caffeine that is the active ingredient.
Things to consider:
- Again, all the studies were done with black coffee. Studies suggest that adding dairy can prevent your bodies’ absorption of the nutrients with the most health benefits. So this does not mean that you should add an extra-large white chocolate mocha with whipped cream to protect your health!
- Coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed crops. So if this is a part of your everyday, I suggest opting for beans that are organic and fair-traded.
- Most of these studies had people drinking 3-5 black coffees each day. Although there are benefits to the caffeine, if it is increasing your anxiety, disrupting your sleep or causing you to miss meals, it would be best to find a different way to get these nutrients into your body!