Coffee or green tea, that is the question. At least for some of us. For many people coffee reigns supreme as the beverage of choice (especially first thing in the morning) but that was before that little upstart green tea arrived on the scene. Green tea, even the name sounds healthy. So what’s the skinny? Both drinks are packed with benefits backed by research, but which is actually better for you?
If you can’t decide which one is the healthier drink, it may help to look at the benefits of both. Or you could opt for the best of both worlds and do both.
Green tea relaxes you
Green tea contains an amino acid called l-theanine, which relaxes the body. So it’s great for headaches, restlessness, menstrual cramps and tummy aches.
Coffee energizes you
Caffeine. Caffeine makes you go. Why? Well, we could talk about the complicated biochemistry which explains why caffeine gives you energy but we’re not going to. We’re going to chalk it up to caffeine fairies.
Green tea helps strengthen your bones
Studies show that one in two women are at risk of osteoporosis-related fractures after reaching the age of 50. However, the good news is that according to research, daily consumption of black, green and white tea is linked to increased bone mineral density in aging folks.
Coffee packs a ton of antioxidants
You’ve heard a lot about the benefits of antioxidants (help prevent oxidative stress by gobbling up free radicals), but you may not know that coffee contains a lot of them. In fact, coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the US diet (probably because so much of it is consumed!).
Green tea improves your oral health
Green tea is an age-old remedy for teeth and gum problems. Studies show that the consumption of at least one cup of green tea every day may prevent tooth loss and gingivitis.
Coffee suppresses your appetite
According to numerous studies, coffee is an excellent appetite suppressant. If you are on a diet, trying to beat sugar cravings or are just trying to loose some weight, a nice hot cup of coffee may help. Like we said in our 101 weight loss tips for weight loss, it’s best to drink your coffee black with no sugar!
Green tea also has antioxidants
Green tea is chock full of antioxidants. Green tea contains more catechin polyphenols, a beneficial type of antioxidant, than coffee or even black tea. Coffee contains more chlorogenic acid which is also an antioxidant. Catechins have a number of reported health benefits from reducing the risk of heart disease, and possibly even helping to prevent Alzheimers and cancer.
Coffee reduces your risk of stroke
Having one to two cups of coffee per day might help prevent a stroke. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, coffee can actually reduce a woman’s risk of stroke by 25 percent.
Green tea could help you live longer
A 13 year study which looked at Japanese green tea drinkers, found that those who drank a lot of green tea (10 cups or more) every day lived longer than those who consumed less green tea. According to the data of this study, those who drank a lot of green tea and were also non-smokers, lived an average of more than 10 years longer.
Coffee could help prevent Alzheimer’s
Some studies indicate that 3 cups of coffee a day might reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that some adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment are able to delay the development of Alzheimer’s because their blood contains higher caffeine levels.
Green tea could help you loose weight
Studies have shown that green tea can help with weight loss, especially around the midriff. Drinking green tea boosts your metabolic rate to an extent, and when combined with exercise these effects may be greater, for example, this study found that green tea enhanced fat-loss in the abdominal region. This study found that green tea extracts were also beneficial in reducing abdominal fat.
Coffee could improve your mood
People who drink coffee are less likely to get depressed as compared to those who don’t drink coffee at all. In addition, the rich flavor of coffee can help you beat the blues any day!
Of course, this is a fine balancing act, because too much coffee can make you jittery and irritable.
Green tea could help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
This study found that consumption of green tea (and coffee) was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (self-reported). Further studies show that drinking green tea can improve the biomarkers for insulin sensitivity.
Coffee is a source of essential nutrients
Coffee contains vital nutrients needed by the body, including magnesium, potassium and niacin.
It’s a team effort!
With both beverages bringing so many different health benefits to the table, why not combined them for the best of both worlds? They both share a number of benefits too, potentially reducing your risk of:
- Various types of cancers
- Heart disease
- Cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Type-2 diabetes
The role of caffeine
Both coffee and green tea contain caffeine which is fine as long as you consume them moderately. Too much caffeine can result in some pretty unpleasant side effects, such as insomnia, restlessness and stomach problems.
Coffee with its high caffeine level, can reduce calcium and iron absorption in the body. It can also cause blood pressure spikes in people who don’t drink coffee too frequently. If you, on the other hand, you find you’re drinking too much coffee, you may want to kick your caffeine habit.
So if you’re not a regular coffee-drinker, having too many cups in a given time may make you feel like you’re bouncing off the walls. Green tea has much less caffeine, but it still contains some, so if you plan on getting to sleep any time soon, you may want to steer clear of it before bed time.
Coffee might sound like the superior beverage when it comes to improving cognitive performance, but green tea can also boost brain function. They look different, taste different and smell different but their benefits tend to overlap a lot of the time. It may sound good to choose one over the other, but it is recommended that you combine both into your lifestyle for optimum performance and health.