Tea vs. coffee
After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. It’s made from steeping dried leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant and is commonly called black tea. Tea leaves are crushed, dried, and fermented to bring out some of the plant’s natural chemicals called polyphenols.
Green, white, and oolong tea are all from the Camellia plant, but the leaves are processed in different ways. Herbal teas are different and come from dried leaves, roots, seeds, or fruit of a variety of other plants.
Coffee is also a popular drink. It’s brewed from ground, roasted seeds of the coffee cherry, which are commonly called coffee beans. A single cup of coffee has thousands of natural chemicals. Each cup can vary based on:
- How it's brewed
- How the beans are roasted
- How it’s ground
Both drinks have potential benefits and risks for your health.
What are the health benefits of tea?
Tea is high in polyphenols, which are a large group of thousands of naturally existing plant compounds. It’s not fully clear how tea works, but research shows the plant compounds might help:
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower inflammation
- Regulate sugar and fat metabolism
- Regulate insulin sensitivity
- Regulate body temperature
Tea is also rich in an amino acid called l-theanine, which can cross your blood-brain barrier. Theanine has brain protective properties and might help prevent memory loss called cognitive decline.
Animal studies also show that green and black tea have anti-cancer properties against stomach, esophageal, mouth, prostate, and colon cancer. Studies in people show mixed or unclear results, though. While tea might have these properties, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will prevent cancer.
What are the health benefits of coffee?
Drinking coffee is linked to lower risks for liver disease, heart disease, some brain diseases, type 2 diabetes, and death. It’s not clear exactly how coffee helps your health either, but studies show it might have some beneficial properties. These include:
- Lowers blood sugar temporarily
- Protects brain cells
- Lowers inflammation
- Lowers oxidative stress, which can damage your cells
Coffee might lower your risk for Parkinson’s. The main cause of Parkinson’s disease is low levels of dopamine and animal studies show that drinking coffee protects the brain cells that make dopamine. Human studies show a link between regular coffee drinking and lower rates of Parkinson’s.
It might also help lower your risk for Alzheimer’s though studies show mixed results. It’s likely that coffee is protective for your brain, but it’s not clear it prevents disease. It does help with increased energy, concentration, and alertness due to its high caffeine content, though.
Is it better to drink tea or coffee?
So which is better: coffee or tea? Tea is generally safe, even in large amounts. While coffee is also safe to drink, high amounts can cause some problems.
Tea has more antioxidants
Both tea and coffee are high in polyphenols, but tea has more. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties that help your body get rid of free radicals, which cause damage and can lead to disease.
Coffee is high in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, but your body breaks these down into other compounds that have lower antioxidant activity. These antioxidants might not do as much for your body as tea compounds do.
Tea has less caffeine
While you may turn to caffeine for a kickstart to your day or to help you concentrate at work, too much caffeine can have side effects like:
Most adults can safely have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine everyday, but pregnant women should have less than 200 milligrams a day. Studies link higher caffeine to low birth weight and pregnancy loss, though the research is mixed.
Both tea and coffee have caffeine, but tea has half the amount of coffee. An 8-ounce mug of brewed black tea has 47 milligrams of caffeine, while 8 ounces of brewed coffee has 96 milligrams.
Green tea has even less caffeine, at 28 milligrams per 8 ounces. Drinking tea can give you a milder boost in energy and alertness, but with less of a caffeine kick than coffee.
Overall, both coffee and tea are safe to drink and have potential health benefits. Tea may have more benefits than coffee, but you’ll need to watch your caffeine intake with either one. Your drink of choice might depend on your personal preference and your culture.
Latest Nutrition, Food & Recipes News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Coffee," "Tea."
Mayo Clinic: "Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more."
Nutrients: "Tea Polyphenols in Promotion of Human Health."
Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: "Coffee," "Tea."
Top Is Tea or Coffee Better for Your Health Related Articles
Top Cancer-Fighting FoodsExperts have praised certain foods for their ability to reduce cancer risks. Learn which foods and eating strategies may help reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Diet and Nutrition: The Healthiest CoffeesYou may be in it for the caffeine, but coffee can actually be good for you. Here’s how to enjoy a healthy cup, and what to stay away from.
Do Detox Teas Really Work?The body has a natural detoxification system that eliminates toxins and harmful compounds. Hence, detoxing tea is ineffective and unnecessary for weight loss and detoxification. There hasn’t been any evidence regarding detox teas that these would flush toxins out of the body.
Fat-Fighting FoodsLearn about fat-fighting foods such as grapefruit, hot peppers, vinegar, and more. Discover the benefits along with surprising facts about how they may fight fat.
Is Coffee Good for Gout?Moderate coffee consumption may lower your risk of developing gout and reduce the chances of having a flare-up. Coffee contains beneficial compounds such as caffeine and polyphenols which can lower uric acid levels in the body.
Is Coffee Good for Your Health?Coffee is the most popular stimulant substance drunk all over the world. More than 150 million people in the United States drink coffee daily. The average coffee consumption by US adults is approximately two cups per day, which is the equivalent of approximately 280 mg of caffeine.
Is Coffee High in Potassium?Potassium is an essential micronutrient required for cellular function. It is highly reactive in water and produces positively charged potassium ions.
Is Green Tea Better Than Normal Tea?Both black tea and green tea have similar benefits. Green tea contains less caffeine than green tea, so it may be a better choice if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
Tea QuizAre all teas created equal? Take this quiz to learn what drinking tea does to the body, and how it can provide health benefits against certain diseases and conditions.
What Are the Negative Effects of Coffee?Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the US. People drink coffee several times a day citing the reason that it makes them stay alert and focused. And yes! It does. The effect is due to the stimulant, caffeine.
What Happens If I Drink Green Tea Every Day?Green tea is a substance that has been popular for its health benefits for centuries. Green tea boosts immunity, reduces acne, aids in weight management, promotes heart health, may fight cancer, treats genital warts and helps promote brain health.
What Is Ginger Tea Good For?Good ginger tea can be a refreshing and revitalizing alternative to caffeine-containing drinks. However, moderation is the keyword. You should not drink more than one or two cups of ginger tea per day. Daily consumption of 4 g of ginger or less than two tablespoons is considered ideal.
What Is the Best Tea for Detoxing?Green tea seems to be the best tea for detoxing due to its antioxidant properties. Green tea is manufactured by withering, steaming, or pan firing, drying and grading the young tea leaves. Unlike black tea or oolong tea, green tea does not undergo fermentation.
What Is Turmeric Tea Good For?A vital constituent of turmeric, called curcumin, makes the tea beneficial. Turmeric tea is prepared by steeping the turmeric root in warm water. Research suggests that curcumin is five to eight times more beneficial than vitamin E.
What Tea Is Good for the Brain?Tea is one of the most popular beverages consumed globally after coffee. It is the caffeine content of tea that makes it a popular drink. Different varieties of tea exist in the market. Traditional teas include black tea, white tea, green tea, purple and oolong tea.