The SHOWDOWN: Coffee Vs. Tea
You wake up. You get your kick of caffeine. You’re still tired.
While we swear by our morning beverages—and research tells us again and again that there are benefits of both—which one is really better for you? We broke it down by category.
You Need a Jolt
It only takes about 10 minutes for your body to feel caffeine’s effects, says Dr. Laura Klein, Ph.D., associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State University. Caffeine makes your body release hormones that keep you active, boosting your heart rate and blood pressure, she says. But where do coffee and tea differ? One 8 oz. cup of tea averages anywhere from 14 to 61 mg of caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic. One 8 oz. cup o’ joe? At least 95 mg., according to the Mayo Clinic.
Your choice: Coffee.
You Want to Stay Healthy
Here’s the rundown on coffee: A 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who drank four cups of coffee daily were 30 percent less at risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers. It’s also been shown that men who drank at least three cups of coffee daily were 9 percent less likely to have skin cancer than those who drank less than one cup monthly.
But health benefits of tea—especially green tea—are well documented, too. It’s well known that antioxidants in green tea can aid in repairing a weak immune system because it has EGCG, an antioxidant that recharges the white blood cells that prevent viruses from reactivating. Green tea is also loaded with catechins, powerful antioxidants that research has shown could help prevent prostate cancer.
Your choice: Either
You’re Trying to Lose Weight
Here’s the good news: Caffeine has been shown to slightly reduce appetite. But drinking green tea daily could lead to about an inch off your waistline in 12 weeks, according to a recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition review. That’s because EGCG and caffeine in green tea can help shrink fat cells and makes muscle cells more active.
Your choice: Tea.
You Want to Gain Muscle
While tea might be better for burning fat, coffee is the winner when you want more muscle. Guys who drank 2 1/2 cups of Joe a few hours before working out could sprint 9 percent longer in distance than when they didn’t, according to a recent study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Why? Caffeine can stimulate your muscles, which can help you power through with more reps.
Your choice: Coffee.
You Want to Boost Your Mood
When British researchers tricked daily coffee drinkers into drinking decaf—they scored the same on puzzle tests as caffeinated coffee drinkers, according to a 2011 study published in Appetite. That’s because we’ve associated coffee with energy, says Dr. Klein, so we intuitively expect to have a caffeine kick.
But tea has been linked to calming your nerves. Jasmine and lavender tea drinkers, for example, experienced a decreased heart rate simply by smelling their tea, according to a recent study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Your choice: Tea