If you’re trying to be healthier, the results of recent studies on tea and coffee may surprise you. Most people assume that tea is healthier than coffee because it doesn’t contain caffeine, but it turns out that tea can actually be worse for your health than your morning cup of Joe—in some ways at least. Read on to learn more about the surprising truth about tea and coffee and how it impacts your health as well as what you can do about it.
Why are you drinking coffee in the first place?
Some people drink coffee because they have an overwhelming urge to do so, but that’s not exactly a reason. A better way to answer why is by saying, I’m drinking coffee because it makes me feel energized in the morning. And I want to replace my mid-morning soda with something healthy and tasty that won’t spike my blood sugar levels or make me crash two hours later. And I love how coffee smells throughout my house.
What’s so great about tea anyway?
The health benefits of tea are due to its polyphenol content. The active components in green tea—the catechins (EGCG, EGC and ECG)—have demonstrated many potential health benefits, including improved brain function and weight loss. Other polyphenols found in tea include anthocyanins, quercetin and kaempferol—which may have similar health effects as those seen with green tea.
The power of antioxidants
Researchers at England’s University of Southampton found that certain antioxidants in green tea—catechins, quercetin, and luteolin—all helped to protect DNA from damage that could ultimately lead to cancer. In particular, green tea contains high levels of catechins (85 percent), which appear to be responsible for its cancer-fighting potential. So if you want to help your body ward off disease and decay, drink up!
If you’re going to drink coffee, here’s how to do it right
Drink coffee only in moderation. The nutritional value of coffee is more than offset by its caffeine content, so don’t drink too much! A maximum of four cups per day is considered safe—if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, stick to two.
Caffeine isn’t everything
Caffeine gets all of the press, but tea contains other health-promoting compounds, including flavonoids and antioxidants. While these compounds aren’t likely to have a large impact on your overall health (and they may not exist in high enough concentrations to make much of a difference), they could still add up to provide some benefit.
There may be more downsides than upsides with coffee
There’s some evidence that coffee increases cholesterol levels, stress, anxiety and risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, there are certain medications that may interact negatively with coffee. With tea, however, there’s no high-cholesterol issue; a few studies even suggest it might lower blood pressure. There also aren’t many negative interactions between tea and drugs or other medications.