Tea or coffee: which is the best choice for your health?

Beach or mountains? Dogs or cats? Sweet or salty? Today we are going to deal with one of these dilemmas that apparently irreconcilable sides face: is it better to drink tea or coffee?

Although in Spain the consumption of coffee is greater, the presence of tea has been growing continuously in recent years. A big reason behind this growth is increased consumer awareness of its health benefits.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The truth is that, when it comes to health, both drinks have a lot to offer. Are you more of tea or coffee? Let’s see if after reading this article you still think the same.

Better tea or coffee for breakfast?

How difficult to have breakfast without having a good tea or coffee, right? It is no coincidence that the world chooses these two drinks to start the day. The key to the matter has a name: caffeine.

Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, the same stimulating component that helps us start the day on the right foot.

But beware, too much caffeine is not good. Excessive consumption has been linked to various ailments, including nausea and migraine. The maximum amount recommended by the World Health Organization is 200 milligrams daily for an adult.

A cup of espresso can contain about 100 milligrams, while a cup of tea can contain between 20 and 70 (yes, it can vary a lot depending on the type of tea).

Coffee contains more caffeine, of course, but if you think that necessarily makes it better for getting you going in the morning, read on.

Tea contains other components that can help you improve your attention span and concentration. Theanine is an amino acid that regulates how your body processes caffeine, making its effects less radical. The result is a calmer sense of alertness, without the jolt that coffee causes in those more sensitive to caffeine.

In short, tea or coffee will help you wake up in the morning, but remember: watch the caffeine. If you want to do without it completely without losing the comforting feeling of starting the morning with a hot drink, there are numerous infusions without any, no caffeine.

Health benefits of tea 

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, behind water? The merit is not exclusively for its taste, but for its beneficial properties for health, which have been known since ancient times. It should be remembered that, in the past, tea was mainly known as a medicinal herb.

1. Stimulating effect reducing tension

As we explained, tea is a source of the amino acid theanine which, in combination with caffeine, would improve attention and concentration while generating a feeling of general relaxation.

Various investigations have shown that beverages containing both theanine and caffeine would have a greater impact on concentration due to the effects of said amino acid on the consumer’s brain.

2. Prevent chronic diseases

First of all, tea is a source of polyphenols, specifically theaflavins, thearubigins and catechins, compounds with antioxidant properties whose consumption can help eliminate free radicals that affect our body and reduce cell damage. The consumption of black or green tea would protect DNA from possible oxidative damage. In this way, a cup of tea could help us reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

3. Protect cardiovascular health

Another benefit of tea lies in its content of flavonoids, substances that according to different studies would help lower high cholesterol and maintain stable blood pressure, two of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

In fact, one study found that those who drank black tea for 12 weeks significantly lowered their blood sugar levels, triglyceride levels, and “bad” cholesterol. However, more research is needed to provide conclusive data in this regard.

Health benefits of coffee

Although in recent years there has been controversy about the recommended intake of caffeine per day, some studies point to the possible benefits of drinking coffee. While the WHO recommends 200 milligrams per day, the American FDA raises the limit to 4 or 5 cups of coffee, which is equivalent to about 400 milligrams per day.

Among the benefits of regularly consuming coffee are the following.

1. Lower risk of heart problems

A study that moderate coffee consumption would help reduce the risk of clogged arteries and consequent heart attacks.

2. Memory improvements

An investigation indicates that coffee consumption could be beneficial for improving memory.

3. Protection against Alzheimer’s

Although the data is not entirely conclusive, it would suggest that coffee consumption may reduce the risk of dementia or at least delay its onset.

Tea or coffee: it depends

As you can see, both coffee and tea could offer you health benefits. The choice will depend, then, on your health circumstances and, of course, on your personal preferences. 

If you are interested in reducing your daily caffeine intake, it may be interesting to drink some variety of tea in the morning. Remember that the recommended maximum is 200mg/day of caffeine and by drinking two espressos you have already covered it. Better reserve that extra dose of energy for the times of the day when you are most tired, maybe in the middle of the morning or after lunch?

On the other hand, it is worth noting that the combination of caffeine and theanine helps to increase the level of concentration, stimulating our brain in a relaxed way. That is to say that the tea allows you to focus 100% on your work without overstimulating yourself.

The taste is also an important factor. Remember that the world of tea is wide and rich in varieties that will provide you with different health benefits, amounts of caffeine and, of course, flavors.

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