If you like drinking coffee and think that you can’t be without it, consider whether you’d possibly want to switch to tea instead. For a whole number of reasons, tea can be much healthier for you. Find out about the benefits of drinking tea over coffee.
If you’re like most, you may feel that you can’t start your day without a kick of caffeine in the morning. Maybe you’re one of the many people who need a strong cup of coffee to get going, or maybe you’re more into enjoying a nice cup of tea instead. Both coffee and tea can give us that needed jolt in the morning. Which one you prefer may simply come down to personal taste. Then again, tea is a lot healthier than coffee. Find out why you should switch to tea!
A lot of people who drink coffee will likely agree that it isn’t so much the taste that draws them in. For some, coffee is more like a drug that helps them when they’re tired in the morning or if they need a boost when they’re in a slump. And comparing coffee to a drug might not be that far-fetched, seeing that it can be somewhat addictive—with all the negative effects like headaches and irritability if you can’t get your “fix” for whatever reason. Just ask anyone who drinks coffee not to drink it for a few days!
Health experts have long said that tea can be a much better alternative to coffee. It can give you the same energising boost as a cup of coffee, but without the negative effects. In addition to that, tea contains a wealth of valuable compounds such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial for good health. The Chinese have known about these healthful effects of tea since ancient times.
No question, coffee is popular across the world, but it’s still nothing compared to tea. Tea is the most widely consumed beverage next to water, and has been around for a very long time.
According to legend, tea was discovered in ancient China in 2737 BC by the Emperor of China as he was boiling water under a tree. It just so happened that a tea leaf fell into the pot, and this is how the Emperor discovered not only the great taste of tea, but also its effect. When he tasted the new beverage, he was amazed to discover how it helped him stay focussed and awake. It didn’t take long for the astonishing effects of tea to make it a popular beverage among scholars and monks, where the “miracle beverage” helped them with their studies and meditation.
Coffee was discovered much later. The legend goes that this happened also by coincidence, when a goat herder in Ethiopia observed his goats getting all hyperactive from eating coffee berries from a tree. And just like in China and other parts of Asia, the energising effect of coffee first became popular among priests who welcomed the drink so they could stay alert and focussed during prayer. In time, coffee became very popular all across Arabia.
For a long time, both beverages were known only in the East. Only when Europeans made their way to China and Arabia, which happened much later in the 17th century, would coffee and tea make their way slowly across Europe.
When it comes to the health benefits of coffee, or that of caffeine in general, things don’t look very clear. There are numerous studies which suggest that drinking coffee may be beneficial for certain conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia, and some others where it has been suggested that caffeine may be helpful for respiratory problems like asthma. But in the case of coffee, for every positive research study there is another one contradicting the results. In other words, it is not certain whether coffee has really any health benefits. On the plus side, however, studies seem to suggest that drinking coffee doesn’t have any long-term negative effects either, as some health experts in the past believed it would have.
But there is not so much uncertainty about the healthful benefits of tea! It is known that tea contains a host of healthful compounds, particularly so-called polyphenols, which have various beneficial effects and may even play a role in the prevention of certain cancers.
You may know that there are various kinds of tea, such as black tea and green tea, white tea, or oolong tea. All these teas are made from the leaves of the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Now, you may possibly wonder where the differences in tea come from. The difference is in how the tea leaves are processed after they have been picked. The way the leaves are dried and oxidised are what results in the various types of tea. Moreover, the way the leaves are processed also plays a role in how many of the healthful compounds are found in the tea.
It is widely assumed that the compounds in tea, such as the polyphenols in green tea or the theaflavins in black tea, have healthful and rejuvenating properties. These compounds can protect from cell damage, strengthen the immune system, and have many other healthful properties. In addition, tea can also help with stress and, of course, it has an energising effect that wakes you up in the morning since it also contains caffeine. Let us look at the various healthful effects of drinking tea instead of coffee!
Both coffee and tea contain caffeine, the wonderful substance that gives us a jolt in the morning and helps us get over the day when we’re tired. Although a strong cup of tea and a cup of coffee can contain about the same amount of caffeine, tea doesn’t give you the negative effects you may experience when you drink coffee. One of them is the dreaded coffee crash. The reason for this is that coffee may give you a bigger rush at first, but the effect doesn’t last as long as with tea. And when the effect of coffee wears off after a short time, you may feel even more tired than before. The energising effect of tea lasts a lot longer and doesn’t wear off as quickly. It is also more balanced, so you will also feel mentally refreshed, without feeling nervous and jittery as can happen with coffee.
Although coffee also contains antioxidants, tea contains much more. Green tea has the highest amount of antioxidants since it is the least processed tea, but they’re also found in black tea and other teas. Black tea also contains a good amount of tannins, which are polyphenols that are believed to support a healthy heart; they can lower cholesterol levels and help with digestion. So if you want to go the healthy route and get your dose of antioxidants with each cup, tea should be your go-to brew.
The exact reasons why tea can help us with stress aren’t well understood, but there is no doubt about its effectiveness for relieving stress. The relaxing property of tea is one reason why it is so popular in many cultures. Think about afternoon tea in Great Britain or how tea is served as a welcome drink to guests in the Middle East. It’s just the perfect beverage to bond over and spend a relaxing time with friends or family. Some research suggests that even the act of making tea by itself can have a relaxing and calming effect! So the next time you feel a little down, just set the kettle up. Chances are, you’ll feel better after enjoying a nice warm cup.
Tea is good for your teeth because it contains fluoride. Fluoride is known to benefit healthy teeth by strengthening enamel and helping prevent cavities. The other advantage of drinking tea over coffee is that it doesn’t stain your teeth as coffee does. Of course, for good dental health you want to drink your tea without sugar. Although too much fluoride may potentially have harmful effects, you’d have to drink an awful lot of tea for this to become a concern.
Although drinking tea will likely not magically get rid of the flu, if you have gotten ill in the wintertime, it may help you on the way to getting better. It is also believed that tea strengthens the immune system so you are less likely to get sick in the first place.
Green tea and black tea contain high amounts of an amino acid called L-theanine, which may help to fight off infection, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These amino acids support the body’s gamma delta T cells, which are the body's first line of defence against infection. This makes tea a perfect beverage in the colder months when the flu is going around.
Tea replenishes your fluid intake much better than coffee, which makes it the ideal beverage to hydrate your body. It is particularly helpful in the hot summer months when your body can be losing a lot of fluids due to sweating. When you replenish these fluids effectively, this isn’t just essential so your body can function; it also helps you keep a youthful appearance, since it will prevent your skin from drying out and decreases the chance for wrinkles to appear.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, know that consuming lots of tea may not be optimal, especially if you have anxiety or suffer from sleeping troubles. The high amount of fluoride in tea could be another concern since fluoride may increase the risk for brittle bones; but unless you drink dozens of cups every day, this shouldn’t be a problem for most. The bottom line is: If you drink tea in moderation, there is little to be concerned about.
If you’re one of those folks who thinks they can’t go without their daily cup of coffee but wants to do something for good health, how about switching to tea instead? Make the switch and enjoy all the healthy benefits of tea!