Coffee vs Tea - The Real Story

People are usually as adamant about their choice of coffee versus tea as they are about being either a cat person or dog person. The United States and Brazil drink the most coffee, and while coffee gets a bad rap, and tea is seen as the more virtuous beverage – perhaps because of British royal penchant for the drink – it is actually pretty healthy.

I’ll take mine black, please

Not only can the caffeine in coffee help boost your athletic performance – several studies have shown that drinking a cup of coffee before a run or cycling event can increase both speed and endurance (Ref. 1) – it also offers antioxidants that may lower the risk of certain diseases.

“Research over the past few years suggests that coffee consumption may protect against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and liver cirrhosis. And our latest study on coffee and mortality found that people who regularly drank coffee actually had a somewhat lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who rarely drank coffee,” said Dr. Rob van Dam, assistance professor in the department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. (Ref. 2)

Not only that, van Dam said that despite numerous misconceptions that compared coffee consumption to cigarettes or alcohol, long-term studies showed that there were no real negative health associations linked to coffee, aside from warning that pregnant women or those with high blood pressure should skip it.

Coffee may also help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 7 percent, according to a 2002 Dutch study (Ref. 3), but for those who already have type 2, the caffeine in coffee leads to elevated blood sugar levels that can exacerbate the diabetic symptoms, researchers at Duke University said in 2011.

“Caffeine increases blood glucose by as much as oral diabetes medications decrease it. ... It seems the detrimental effects of caffeine are as bad as the beneficial effects of oral diabetes drugs are good,” said James Lane, PhD, who headed the study. (Ref. 4)

Just remember everything in moderation...excessive consumption of coffee may lead to dehydration and potentially other ailments.

A global tea party

China and Russia dominate the tea market, and while black tea remains the most popular, green tea is quickly closing the gap.


Black tea is rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols, which can help control oxidative stress that can contribute to aging. Not only that, but they can help control plaque that leads to bad breath. (Since coffee tends to lead to bad breath, chalk one up on the tea side.) (Ref.5)

Current evidence suggests that polyphenols also may play a role in the prevention of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes, according to an article appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Ref. 6)


Green tea gets its power from high levels of flavonoids, also plant-based antioxidants that fight free radicals and slow the sings of aging.

Green tea, experts say, is one of the top sources of catechins, which are more powerful than vitamins C and E when it comes to controlling oxidative damage to cells.

According to the Harvard School of Women’s Health, studies of green tea benefits have linked the beverage to a lower risk of diseases including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal and bladder cancer. (Ref. 7)

Green tea, the Harvard experts say, can also help you feel fuller longer, thanks to the phytonutrient GCG, which elevates levels of the hormone that controls feelings of satiation.

It has also been linked to slowing the progression of dementia.

Both black and green tea can lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels and improving artery function.

So, from a health point of view Green Tea is probably the best of the options that we’ve looked at here, and we’d certainly encourage you to consider Greet Tea or other herbal teas from time to time.

Please feel free to comment on your preferences and the healthy options that are worth considering?



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