Some people prefer tea, some people prefer coffee, and everyone has their own strong opinions about which is the best drink. Then there’s those people who don’t like either, but we don’t talk about them… There must be a winner in the tea vs coffee debate, so let’s take a very unbiased look (haha) at why tea is the best of the beverages.
Caffeine boost without the jitters
While tea and coffee both contain caffeine, you might be mistaken and think that coffee has much more caffeine… but it doesn’t! Coffee has only slightly more caffeine than tea, but tea also contains EGCG and l-theanine, two natural substances that can counteract the side effects of caffeine. EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, is an antioxidant that is thought to increase the quantity of calm-inducing neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. L-theanine is an amino acid that can increase alpha brainwaves, which are associated with relaxation.
Good for your teeth
Coffee might not actively damage your teeth (unless you put a load of sugar in), but it can stain them and also give you a dry mouth, which can result in less-than-pleasant breath! Tea (without sugar) can actually help to protect tooth health. Tea is rich in polyphenols which can help to reduce gum inflammation, also black tea in particular appears to fight off the harmful bacteria in plaque that can cause cavities and gum disease.
Full of antioxidants
All teas from the camellia sinensis plant are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, which are both kinds of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to counter the effects of free radicals, which can damage cells. Cellular damage from free radicals is thought to contribute towards heart disease and cancer. Tea is actually thought to have 10 times the amount of antioxidants as fruit and vegetables!
Could help you lose weight
You’ve probably heard that green tea can help you lose weight, which sounds too good to be true, but this is backed up by a number of scientific studies. It appears that the flavonoids and caffeine in the tea can help to increase metabolic rate, this burning more calories. Other beneficial effects include increased fat burning and improved insulin sensitivity. It could be the case that the EGCG found in green tea can aid weight loss by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down noradrenaline, a hormone that promotes fat breakdown.
Can help to reduce stress
We have already talked about how the compounds in tea can help to curb the jitteriness you get when drinking caffeinated drinks, but tea could actually help to boost your mental health. A study conducted in Japan including 42,093 people found that participants who drank 5 or more cups of green tea a day reported significantly lower levels of psychological distress. It is hard to say exactly why this is, but it is thought that the polyphenols in tea can help by promoting alpha brain waves and increasing levels of feel-good neurotransmitter GABA. Many people also drink herbal teas to help them relax, especially before bedtime. Good night time teas include chamomile, lavender, lemon balm or valerian as ingredients.
So there you have it! Coffee may be good, but it can’t hold a candle to tea and all the good it does for your body and mind.