Coffee and tea are two beverages that easily top the list of most popular beverages, with black tea being the most demanded variety of tea. Black tea accounts for 78% of all tea production and consumption. Following up on the benefits of the two beverages, both tea and coffee provide similar health benefits, but there are few differences that will be discussed below. Actually, the choice of taking tea or coffee shouldn’t entirely depend on what your taste buds yearn for. Whether to take tea or coffee should depend on your sensitivity to their contents. This write-up aims to enlighten the readers on the difference between the two giants of the beverage world. This article will be helpful for regular beverage takers and beginners. Here’s our process.
Caffeine remains the most studied and consumed stimulant in the world. Known for its beneficial and adverse effects on human health, caffeine is present in common beverages, including coffee and tea. While caffeine levels vary in beverages depending on their brewing time, preparation method, or serving size, a cup of coffee can easily contain twice as much caffeine as a cup of tea of equal serving. According to experts, the healthy amount of caffeine safe for human consumption is 400mg per day. An 8-ounce cup (240 ml) of brewed coffee contains an average of 95 mg of caffeine, compared with 47 mg in the equal serving of black tea.
Normally, when experimenting on the benefits of caffeine, scientists focus mainly on coffee. Both coffee and tea, although containing different amounts of caffeine, can provide their associated health benefits. Caffeine intake may reduce your risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, and may improve athletic performance, mental alertness, and mood. It is considered a performance-enhancing substance because it works as a powerful stimulant for the central nervous system.
Antioxidants are substances that protect the cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Free radicals are molecules produced when the body breaks down food or when the body is exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Both tea and coffee contain antioxidants and polyphenols. These two compounds contribute to the characteristic taste of both coffee and tea. The primary polyphenols in black tea are theaflavins, thearubigins, and catechins. On the other hand, coffee is rich in flavonoids and chlorogenic acid (CGA). Asides from the efficacy of antioxidants and polyphenols against heart diseases, they also contribute to heart health via various blood-vessel-protective mechanisms, including
- Vasodilating effects: Relaxation of blood vessels which helps those suffering from high blood pressure
- Anti-atherogenic effects: They prevent plaque build up thereby reducing the risk of developing stroke or heart attacks
- Anti-angiogenic effects: They hinder the formation of new blood vessels that may feed cancer cells.
Energy boosting effects
The caffeine in coffee elevates energy levels. Additionally, it increases alertness and reduces the likelihood of suffering from fatigue by increasing dopamine levels and hindering the release of adenosine. Dopamine is the chemical messenger responsible for the jittery effect experienced after drinking coffee. This is caused as a result of increased heart rate. Dopamine also affects the brain’s reward system, which is the reason behind caffeine’s addictive properties. On the other hand, adenosine, which has a sleep-promoting effect, is blocked. This action is responsible for caffeine’s ability to reduce the feelings of tiredness. The impact of coffee on energy levels happens almost immediately. Studies show that your body absorbs 99% of caffeine within 45 minutes.
Unlike coffee, tea is lower in caffeine, but what it lacks in the amount of caffeine makes up with a powerful antioxidant that also stimulates the brain called L-theanine. Compared to caffeine, L-theanine may provide stress effects by increasing the brain’s alpha waves, which helps you remain calm and relaxed. Unlike the aroused effects of caffeine, L-theanine causes you to feel alert yet relaxed but not drowsy.
While coffee gives an instant kick, tea offers a smooth boost.
Weight loss benefits
The caffeine in coffee may help lose weight. Caffeine can increase the number of calories you burn by 3-13%. This effect can last up to three hours after intake. On the other hand, tea polyphenols, like theaflavin, contribute to weight loss. The polyphenol, theaflavin, inhibits the release of pancreatic lipase. Pancreatic lipase is an enzyme that plays a key role in fat metabolism. Some studies on rats showed that tea polyphenols may lower blood lipid concentrations and reduce weight gain — even when the animals had a high-fat diet.
These are still assumptions, as there isn’t much evidence to back up these claims.
Now, the big question is, is one truly better than the other?
While some will always opt for a hot cup of coffee in the morning, others prefer a soothing cup of tea. Although coffee has been linked with multiple side effects, experts assured that moderate intake is safe. The caffeine and antioxidant composition differ. Both coffee and tea are excellent sources of these important elements. There’s no telling which is the best amongst these two beverages. Both coffee and tea offer similar health benefits, including weight loss, anticancer, and energy-boosting properties. So, the choice of taking tea or coffee should depend on your caffeine sensitivity or personal preference.