According to a Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center study, between 80 and 90% of Americans regularly consume caffeine. But what the study does not detail is the seeming battlefront of the coffee vs. tea debate and the respective “cultures” each side maintains. So, which side – if either – is in the right? Are there more benefits to drinking one over the other?
This has been a hot debate (pun not intended) in the medical world for many years, and research has provided us with various facts and statistics detailing the benefits of each beloved beverage. Here’s a breakdown:
Reasons to drink coffee:
On average, coffee delivers much more caffeine than tea. So if you’re a 9-5’er in need of a pick-me-up or a college student looking to fuel an all-nighter, coffee is the way to go. Coffee also seems to be a strategic pre-workout drink, as a study found that participants were able to run for longer distances than those who skipped a cup. For serious coffee drinkers come serious health benefits: those who drink upwards of three cups daily guard against type 2 diabetes and skin cancer.
Reasons to drink tea:
The baseline of most research is that if you’re going to drink tea, it should be green tea. While this tea, as mentioned above, does deliver less caffeine than coffee, it makes up for that fact with the numerous health benefits it offers. This particular tea contains ECGC, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system. Its also been documented as a safeguard against the development of prostrate cancer, and – more applicable to all drinkers – has been shown to aid in blasting fat cells. Tea also has been known to have more of a calming effect than coffee, especially when one opts for a lavender or chamomile version; although these are decaffeinated, they are both natural mild sedatives and are good options for a pre-bedtime mug.
Even with all this information on the table, I must admit that, personally, I’m a little bit caught in the middle of the debate. I started drinking coffee when I was 15 and quickly became addicted. Since then, I’ve had to have it every morning – that is until last month. I realized that I had several tea bags stashed away in a drawer and thought I might try tea for a change. Surprisingly, my taste buds must have changed, for I found that I quite enjoyed the drink, at least more than I used to. So I’ve been switching between English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and my favorite, Irish Breakfast, for the past few weeks to feed my caffeine addiction. But since I’m quite averse to the taste of green tea – the healthiest tea of all – is it better for me, health-wise, to return to daily cups of coffee instead? For now I’m still experimenting with my morning beverage regime, and perhaps I’ll go back and forth for the rest of my life. But there’s one thing I know for certain: I will not be giving up caffeine – whether it’s in the form of tea or coffee – for quite some time.