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Coffee or tea: which is better for our health and mood

Some people start their morning with a powerful dose of coffee, while others prefer a slightly less caffeinated dope - a cup of tea. What the latest research says about these drinks, and which one is healthier TheWashington Post.

Photo: IStock

Whatever your preference, scientists have found that drinking coffee or tea regularly can provide health benefits.

Fiber Source

Did you know that your morning coffee contains a dose of fiber? One study found that, on average, coffee contains between 1,1 and 1,8 grams of fiber per cup, depending on whether it's filtered, espresso, or instant.

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The fiber in coffee (about 10 grams per cup) is higher than in orange juice, which contains about half a gram of fiber per cup. You still need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day, but two or three cups of coffee a day can help you get there. On the other hand, a cup of tea usually won't help you meet your daily fiber needs - unless, of course, you choose to chew tea leaves.

Charge for the brain

Need to do some work? Getting ready for the big exam? The caffeine in coffee and tea will help you concentrate. Research shows that caffeine can improve your focus, alertness, and reaction time. But too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness and over-arousal, which can ultimately negatively impact your performance.

The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. But according to the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine. There are fewer of them in espresso and instant coffee. By comparison, an 8-ounce cup of black tea contains about 50 milligrams of caffeine.

A one ounce cup of espresso contains 64 mg of caffeine. An eight ounce cup of instant coffee is 62. An eight ounce cup of black tea will give you 47 mg of caffeine, and an eight ounce cup of green tea will give you 28 mg.

So which is better, coffee or tea? In one study, people were asked to drink four cups of coffee or tea throughout the day. Both drinks had similar effects on alertness and cognition. But tea had one big advantage over coffee: it had enough caffeine to boost performance, but not enough to disrupt sleep.

Benefit for the gut microbiome

Coffee and tea are good sources of polyphenols, plant compounds thought to provide many health benefits. Research shows that polyphenols can reduce the risk of chronic disease and they are "rocket fuel" for the beneficial bacteria that make up your gut microbiome, the community of trillions of microbes that live inside our gut, said Tim Spector, a professor at Queen's University London. Coffee has significantly more polyphenols than green tea, and green tea has more polyphenols than black tea.

Coffee contains 200 milligrams per 100 milliliters. Green tea is 115 milligrams and black tea is 96.

Spector and his colleagues can tell if someone is drinking coffee simply by analyzing their feces. “There are certain microbes that seem to grow quite well in people who drink a lot of coffee,” he said. They found no similar effect in tea drinkers.

Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease

According to large studies, coffee and tea are good for the heart, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

But these studies aren't conclusive — coffee and tea drinkers may have many other heart-healthy habits, like more exercise or eating healthier. But it turns out that the antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee and tea have a protective effect on heart health. Clinical trials show that regular consumption of tea, especially green tea, can slightly improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Drinking decaffeinated coffee — two to four cups a day — has also been linked to a decrease in heart disease.

This suggests that any cardiovascular benefit from drinking coffee and tea is likely due to compounds other than caffeine. There is more research linking coffee to heart health than tea.

Reducing the risk of cancer

Studies over the years have shown that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of cancer. Regular coffee drinkers have a 13% lower risk of developing cancer than those who rarely or never drink. Regular coffee consumption may provide some protection against colorectal, prostate, liver, endometrial, oral, and breast cancers.

The data is not conclusive, but the American Cancer Society claims that coffee contains hundreds of biologically active compounds, including those shown to reduce inflammation, prevent cell damage, and regulate genes involved in DNA repair. “Whether it’s cancer, obesity or heart disease, inflammation is the enemy, and one way to reduce inflammation is to drink coffee,” said Sanjeev Chopra, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of Coffee! Magic Elixir.

Coffee reduces breast cancer by 9%, colorectal cancer by 11%, prostate cancer by 21%, endometrial cancer by 26%, oral cancer by 45%, and liver cancer by 46%.

So far, studies have not found a link between tea consumption and cancer prevention.

Diabetes type 2

A cup of coffee can cause a short-term spike in blood sugar due to the caffeine it contains. However, large studies show that people who drink coffee regularly are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Marilyn S. Cornelis, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University and an expert on coffee, tea and caffeine metabolism, says this may be due to coffee's high concentration of chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol that has been shown in some studies to improve insulin sensitivity and helps control blood sugar levels.

Studies have shown that those who drank up to four cups of coffee a day had a 25% lower risk of developing diabetes than people who drank little or no coffee. People who drank up to four cups of decaffeinated coffee a day had a 20% lower risk. “Coffee is very beneficial for reducing the risk of diabetes,” said Cornelis.

Although tea does not contain chlorogenic acid, it does contain other plant compounds that are thought to be beneficial for blood sugar control. But studies examining the relationship between tea consumption and diabetes risk have come up with conflicting results. Some suggest that drinking four or more cups of green, black, or oolong tea a day may reduce the risk of developing diabetes. A meta-analysis of randomized trials found that green tea may lower blood sugar levels. But other studies have not found a clear link between tea and diabetes risk. Ultimately, experts say the evidence that coffee may offer some protection against diabetes is stronger than that of tea.

Stress level

If you are looking for a soft and gentle drink that can even relieve stress, then pay attention to tea - or, as the famous writer P.L. Travers called it "a balm for the soul". Studies have shown that when people are under stress, drinking green or black tea can help them feel more relaxed and lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Research suggests this is partly due to L-theanine, a compound found in tea, especially green and black tea, that appears to promote relaxation. “L-theanine has a calming effect,” said a professor at Northwestern University, Illinois, Cornelius. “Sometimes it is even included in melatonin supplements to improve sleep.”

Compared to tea, coffee contains much more caffeine, and caffeine is known to stimulate cortisol levels and elevate mood. But as anyone who has ever drunk too many energy drinks or cups of coffee can attest, caffeine can also cause nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia when consumed in excess.

In short, if you want to relax, then a cup of tea is your safest bet.


Coffee and tea lovers rejoice! Coffee and tea drinkers tend to live longer than people who don't drink either drink.

For tea drinkers, both green and black tea are associated with longer life spans. In one recent study, researchers followed half a million people over a 14-year period and found that people who drank at least two cups of tea a day had a 9 to 13 percent lower risk of death during the study period than those who did not. who does not drink tea. The study was conducted in the United Kingdom, where the majority of tea drinkers consumed black tea. But large studies of green tea drinkers have come to similar conclusions.

Black tea, and especially green tea, are rich in polyphenols and other beneficial compounds, “and these compounds have the potential to reduce stress and inflammation in the body,” said Maki Inoue-Choi, a National Institutes of Health research scientist and lead author of the study. More research is needed to understand potential mechanisms involved.

For coffee, a July study of almost 172 people found that those who drank 000 to 2,5 cups of coffee a day were 4,5 percent more likely to die over the course of about seven years of the study. lower than in people who did not drink coffee. Even those who drank coffee with a teaspoon of sugar benefited.

These studies have an important limitation: they are observational in nature, that is, they cannot prove a causal relationship. But tea and coffee provide so many health benefits that it's reasonable to conclude that they may reduce the risk of early death, experts say. Chopra of Harvard Medical School noted that at least five large studies published in leading medical journals have shown that coffee drinkers have a lower mortality rate. “These studies keep coming and coming,” he said.

Coffee drinkers can increase fiber levels, improve microbiome health, and reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes.

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Tea is undeniably good for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, stress levels, mental health, and productivity. It is estimated that for every cup of coffee in the world, three cups of tea are drunk. Tea is the second most popular drink in the world. The first is water. And both drinks are winners when it comes to heart health and longevity. And especially for tea, there are probably more health benefits yet to be discovered.

According to Harvard Medical School's Chopra, one of the reasons coffee has more health benefits than tea is because it has been the subject of much more research. “I tell my tea drinker friends that we will learn in the coming years that tea has additional benefits,” he added.

If you don't drink coffee or tea, don't feel compelled to change. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that people who do not drink coffee or tea are advised not to start. Plain or flavored water and milk are also healthy options.

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