Which is Healthier for Me – Tea or Coffee ?

Inhabitants of earth can be roughly divided in to 2 groups: tea lovers and coffee addicts. Some countries are home to many more of one kind than the other. The US is a coffee nation, but the UK and many parts of Asia are firmly rooted in tea culture.

That said, many people enjoy both drinks.  We decided to compare them from the nutrition aspect, just for kicks.

What you need to know:
Both coffee and tea contain virtually no calories when mixed with water. For many people the “straight” taste is too bitter or incomplete and they must add sugar and/or cream. But the actual tea leaf or coffee bean is virtually calorie-less. With no fat, no sodium, and no carbs – where can you go wrong?

Both beverages contain caffeine, with coffee about twice as much as tea for a comparable cup of hot drink. Caffeine in reasonable amounts during the day (3 cups of coffee or six cups of tea) is actually considered healthy for most people, as it helps kick start the metabolism. If you work out in the morning, a quick cuppa joe before your 2 mile jog will help you perform better.

Coffee has some B vitamins, potassium and other minerals while Tea is high in manganese, folate and potassium. So both can a bit of nutrient goodness to your daily mix. But the main reason tea has become so popular in health circles is the cancer-fighting antioxidants green tea purports to provide our bodies.

And a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that daily intakes of more than 100 ml of tea or coffee may significantly reduce the risk of certain brain tumors. Nice.

So will it be a burning hot shot of espresso at 7am, or 4 o’clock Earl Grey?

As long as you stick to the basic liquid, seems like there is no need to choose sides here. Both these hot drinks are harmless in sane quantities throughout the day, and may even provide a few nutritional benefits to their fans.

If you’re adding sugar or artificial sweeteners, challenge yourself to gradually reduce the amount by half.  From experience, you can go down from 2 teaspoons to 1 within a few weeks to months, and then down from one to none within a similar time frame.

What to do at the supermarket:

Take a look at the ingredient lists to make sure no surprise ingredients have been added to your coffee beans or your tea leaves.

Get Fooducated

  • http://www.awakenedwellness.com Rachel Assuncao

    From a purely nutritional standpoint, this article is well written and informative. And, I think it misses some important concerns.

    Both dichloromethane (also found in paint strippers, degreasers and some plastics) and ethyl acetate (also found in glue and nail polish remover) can be used in the decaffeination process, so opting for swiss water decaffeinated coffee and tea is important to know for those who are opting for a caffeine free tea or coffee experience that is also chemical free.

    From my own experience, I can also say that whether or not tea and/or coffee are good for you is a completely individual experience and it’s important to figure it out for yourself. I cannot drink coffee. If I do, I end up with tremors so bad throughout my body that you can visibly see me shaking for hours. And it only takes 1 cup to have that effect. I learned from this that coffee isn’t good for everyone. Tea doesn’t have this effect on me, though it might on someone else. Taking coffee or tea out of your diet for a week or two and then reintroducing it and paying attention to the affects is a great way to figure out if it is good for your body.

  • WilliamB

    Another datum: tea has more caffeine per oz of leaf/bean.

    @Rachel Assumcao:”Both dichloromethane (also found in paint strippers, degreasers and some plastics) and ethyl acetate (also found in glue and nail polish remover) can be used in the decaffeination process, so opting for swiss water decaffeinated coffee and tea is important to know for those who are opting for a caffeine free tea or coffee experience that is also chemical free.”

    This is insufficient to detail a threat. Water is also used in nail polish remover and paint stripper. Before I can know if these processes represent threats, I need to know if they leave behind toxic chemcials or create them in the processes, how much, and what effect they have on me over what period of time.

  • AmyVA

    From a purely health-oriented perspective, how important does Fooducate/readers believe buying organic is for coffee and tea?

    Also a tip: my FAVORITE, delicious choice for creamer that comes in at only 5 calories per tablespoon is unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It is fantastic!