Could be a toss-up. Hot or cold, caffeinated or not, these two drinks have some great health benefits and some downsides. Fortunately, you can overcome these downsides if you are aware of what to look for and opt to make some minor adjustments before drinking your homebrew. Let’s have a closer look.
Drinking coffee is such a daily ritual for so many of us. Whether you drink just one cup in the morning or more throughout your day, you are part of the statistics — cup-by-cup, Americans consume about 3.1 cups a day and overall, 66 billion cups a year including espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and iced coffee. That’s a lot of coffee! And of course, the choices are endless – from supermarkets to chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts to local, artisan coffee shops most of us seem to enjoy the aroma, flavor and the “caffeine jolt” which can be a substantial stimulant depending on how strong you like your java.
Benefits of coffee
Studies show that coffee may have several health benefits, including:
- Burns Fat
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement — and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning and may boost your metabolic rate by up to 10% if you are overweight and a whopping 29% if you are lean or at a normal weight.
- Type 2 Diabetes Risk Lowered
Coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes – in fact, a 25%-50% lower risk for those who drink the most cups a day and at least 7% for one cup a day drinker.
- Liver Disease
Italian researchers have found that consumption may lower the risk of liver cancer by about 40% and risks are reduced by more than 50% if you drink three cups a day. In addition, coffee may lower the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by about 22%.
- Energy Levels and Cognitive Function Improved
As a stimulant, coffee can help you feel less tired and increase your energy levels. That caffeine fix can also increase the neurotransmitter actions of dopamine and norepinephrine, improving overall brain function.
NOT BAD NEWS, right!
Is coffee bad for you?
The bad news is that coffee can also create health issues including:
- Cholesterol Issues
High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been seen to raise cholesterol levels and drinking two or more cups a day may also be bad for your health if your body metabolizes caffeine too slowly or too quickly.
- Blood Pressure Issues
If you are already suffering from hypertension or don’t normally indulge in caffeine consumption, it is best to be cautious with coffee as even just 1-2 cups can create a marked rise in blood pressure.
- Anxiety and Depression
Caffeine can cause anxiety symptoms for some and is also associated with symptoms of depression if you use it as a mood changing stimulant
Caffeine can disrupt the body clock or circadian rhythm and the work of the hormone melatonin which can, in turn, cause a range of sleep disorders that in turn can influence heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, some psychiatric conditions and more.
On the flip side, here’s to the tea lovers of the world. I happen to be one of those tea lovers and a connoisseur of many herbal teas so I am delighted to share my point of view. When enjoyed in moderation, tea can be good for you and healing in numerous ways.
Benefits of tea
Which type of tea you drink can make a difference. All non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The amount of time the leaves are processed determines whether you end up with a green, black or oolong tea.
The green teas are the least processed and tend to have the highest amounts of polyphenols, and the only type that contains the polyphenol, catechin. Catechins are known to enhance cardiovascular health, improve immune function and reduce the risk of cancer.
Certain herbal teas are known for their medicinal values, including soothing the digestive system.
Some other tea benefits include:
- Boost Exercise Endurance
Research shows the antioxidants in green tea specifically can increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
- Cancer Protective
The antioxidants in tea might help protect against cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers.
- Fight Free Radicals
Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC”) so it helps destroy free radicals which can damage DNA in the body. Free radicals have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and neurological degeneration.
- Sun Damage
Green tea might provide protection from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays which can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
Is tea bad for you?
Depending on how much tea you drink and its specific type, tea has the potential to lead to some unpleasant side effects.
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Drinking too much, especially black tea, may decrease the absorption of the body’s essential nutrients like iron. And green tea may make vitamin B12 absorption difficult.
- Over Caffeination
Tea is a diuretic if you drink too much and can also cause insomnia and other sleep disorder. Drinking more water between your cups of tea can replenish the water lost from drinking tea.
Theophylline a chemical in the tea can lead to dehydration in the digestive system causing constipation so good reason to steer clear of drinking too much tea. Again, drinking more water can help rehydrate your body.
- Teeth Staining
Purely cosmetic but nevertheless an unpleasant side effect of drinking too much black tea. This is also possible when drinking too much coffee.
Caffeine in coffee vs tea
If you are sensitive to caffeine, you should be aware of how much you are taking in when you drink coffee or tea. Here are some guidelines in milligrams per serving:
Caffeine in Coffee
Espresso – 100 mg of caffeine
Brewed – 80 – 135 mg of caffeine
Instant – 65 – 100 mg of caffeine
Decaf – 3 – 4 mg of caffeine
Caffeine in Tea
Black Tea – 14 – 70 mg of caffeine
Green Tea – 24 – 45 mg of caffeine
Matcha Tea – 25 mg of caffeine
Herbal Teas – 0 mg to trace amounts
Why Quality Counts
Whether into coffee or tea, I always advocate buying the highest quality you can afford of both. It’s not worth being frugal when it comes to something you are likely to be ingesting every day. In either case, I highly recommend opting for organic vs non-organic brands. More on that subject below.
Every morning over 100 million Americans wake up and indulge in their favorite coffee and about 83% of the population in the US drink coffee on a regular basis. So asking people to give up their mojo would be like asking them to give up (?)…well you can just imagine! I know this to be a fact because most people tell me they can’t live without their morning fix under any circumstances and beg me not to even ask them to do that.
Also, for many people, their coffee isn’t just a morning pick-me-up, it is truly a part of their daily routine. Whatever this means to you personally is fine, you just need to know the difference in quality.
I really believe not all coffee beans are created equally. For starters, coffee beans themselves are usually subjected to chemical processing.
Buyer BEWARE because coffee happens to be one of the most heavily chemically-sprayed products…
The coffee bean roasting process may generate a potentially dangerous chemical – acrylamide. It’s used to make plastics and treat wastewater, among other things and overexposure to it can cause nervous system damage and increase the risk of cancer. We are already exposed to acrylamide daily through many of our personal care and household products so why drink it in your coffee too?
Mycotoxins are molds that can grow on coffee beans, particularly when they are improperly processed, and research shows they may cause degeneration and even death of cell neurons in humans. This is a good reason to avoid dry-processed coffees.
It so happens that even some organic brands of coffee may have some chemicals inside them. What is most important to look for is that your coffee is grown, washed, dried and roasted without any toxic chemicals. If you are not sure if your coffee is pure, try calling your coffee manufacturer and ask them how their coffee is processed from start to finish. Or you can follow my recommendations on some of the cleanest coffees available on the market today.
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When it comes to teas — pesticides and heavy metals are of concern. This is because tea plants are extremely good at naturally extracting agents from the soil and accumulating them in their leaves like fluoride.
All Tea is not Created Equal
Similar to coffee in terms of purity, you should know that most conventional teas contain high levels of toxic substances such as artificial ingredients, GMO (modified corn starch and soy lecithin), “natural flavors”, pesticides. The high pesticides in these teas such as DDE (a metabolite of DDT), permethrin, Heptachlor epoxide, acetamiprid (also a bee-toxic substance), and more, are linked to cancer and endocrine system disruptors. While these pesticides are banned in the US Food and Drug Administration as far back as the early ’70s, conventional teas imported from China and India are still an issue today. [1, 2]
Some conventional tea brands to avoid for these toxic substances include:
- Lipton, Twinings, King Cole, Allegro, Celestial Seasonings, Tazo, Teavana, Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, and Signal, Yogi, The Republic of Tea 
While mesh tea bags are the craze, these pouches contain a plastic substance that when exposed to hot water can leach toxic substances that are harmful to your health and considered a dangerous carcinogen.
Many tea bags are also treated with hazardous chemicals like epoxy resins (epichlorohydrin) and unfortunately, many conventional coffee filters also contain this chemical substance. To make matters worse, another harmful plastic residue is then added to the tea bags to keep the bags from breaking.
The GOOD NEWS is you don’t have to stop drinking tea altogether and can still enjoy the many health benefits that tea has to offer. To ensure the health benefits of tea try making these simple changes to your tea routine:
- Always opt for organic and nonGMO brands
- Check all the ingredients for other added GMO ingredients
- Consider using loose teas and make your own brew
- Use a wired mesh infuser to brew your loose tea
- Don’t order tea out as most are made with toxic ingredients and bags
- Don’t over brew your tea as it can damage the antioxidant benefits
- Opt for brands you can trust
Trusted organic tea brands:
- Organic Tazo
- Organic Traditional Medicinal
- Organic Tulsi
- Organic EDEN
- Organic Choice
- Organic Stash
- Reishi Tea
- Numi Tea
- Two Leaves
- Red Rose
Stay tuned for more articles on the health benefits of tea.
A Tea Primer
Be sure to look for organic when choosing either coffee or tea and make certain you buy from reliable sources that claim to be free of contaminants and even independently lab tested. Need your coffee fix? Go ahead and enjoy your healthy coffee or have a fun tea party. Totally worth it!
Still undecided as to whether coffee or tea is best for you? CONTACT ME today for a consultation and we’ll take a look at your own bio-individuality and see what’ best suits your needs.
- Health Freedom. Toxic Tea: Popular brands contain illegal amounts of pesticides.
- Marketplace. Full tea test results.
- World Truth. These popular tea brands possess dangerously high levels of pesticides.