Which is More Beneficial: Tea or Coffee? Part One
Almost all of us like to drink coffee or tea during breakfast or lunch, as well as tea or coffee during gatherings with family or friends.Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, next to water, and green tea is especially popular in Japan and China. On any given day, however, only one in five American adults drinks tea, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In the U.S., coffee is king of beverages and millions start the day with the aromatic brew. Researchers named coffee as the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet, partly because of the volume they consume. In the Middle East, coffee and tea are part of any party and gathering.
So, which is better, coffee or tea?.
Both coffee and tea have their loyal fans and each beverage has been touted with a long list of health and beauty benefits. Let’s take a look at the benefits of tea and coffee.
Tea leaves come from an evergreen plant called Camellia sinensis. The way the leaves are processed determines if they become black or green tea. There are four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Tea is officially awesome for your health because all teas contain a group of antioxidants called flavonoids and make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and is not technically tea.
Some serious health benefits of tea are:
*Tea can boost exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
*Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative disease
*The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon,colorectal skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas,liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While more studies than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
* Tea helps fight free radicals. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100 percent effective — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the help we can get.
*Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered alongside other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson disease in both men and women.
*Tea also might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and we all know what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
*Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer .
*Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
*Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back post exposure.
*Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenol in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
Based on this evidence, perhaps tea ought to be the beverage of choice for women. For me, the fact that tea contains tons of antioxidants is reason enough to drink it, even if we haven’t discovered all of the disease-fighting benefits yet. Researchers say green tea has more antioxidants because the leaves are less processed, but some people don’t like its unique flavor. Since both black and green tea are antioxidant-rich, drink the kind you like best or you can mix them in one tea pot. The important thing is that it’s best to drink it unsweetened to avoid the harmful sugar. Adjust your intake to match your personal tolerance because some people are caffeine-sensitive and are left feeling jittery or ill after ingesting a dose, or it can give them a migraine headache. Tea has a little caffeine too, but not as much as coffee.