Health benefits of Coffee and Tea compared – Health advice by Dr Harold

Drinking Tea or coffee as a beverage is a personal choice, but health benefits are in more favour of coffee.

Both beverages have caffeine. Tea leaves have more caffeine than coffee beans before they are brewed, but caffeine in tea is extracted more during the process of brewing within ten seconds and further diluted more when adding hot water. Also, most of the caffeine is left behind with the tea leaves at the base of your cup. For these reasons brewed tea you enjoy, has less caffeine than brewed coffee.

Both tea and coffee in excess can result in increased anxiety, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, insomnia, restlessness and nausea in hyper-sensitive people. Both tea and coffee have protective antioxidant to neutralize harmful free radicals in your body, a better source of antioxidants is coffee. Tea has catechins, theaflavins whilst coffee has chlorogenic acids and trigonelline the main antioxidants. Most habitual coffee drinkers get more antioxidants from drinking coffee than from other dietetic sources.

Black tea, oolong tea and green tea may not have much antioxidants as coffee is.

These antioxidants in both coffee and tea don’t spend much time in the body to play a big role in antioxidant defences, because either they are not absorbed through the gut, and when absorbed they do not stay in the body long.

One advantage to tea drinkers is that they drink more tea during the day than coffee drinkers, and they may be getting more antioxidants. Recommended amount of coffee is two per day, or more if you don’t get side effects.

Antioxidants in both tea and coffee are proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and other age-related diseases.

Most people drink a cup of strong coffee in the morning to revive from your sleep and make you more active and muscles work. Tea drinkers are few because the first cup in the morning does not give the same stimulant effect as with coffee.

Studies at Stanford University says a cup of coffee a day could keep early death away.

Antioxidants in coffee have more effect on the age-related inflammation like noncommunicable diseases of aging and may have less diseases and may prolong life.

It is known that caffeine in coffee intake is associated with longevity, unlike tea drinkers. Estate tea pluckers in Sri Lanka don’t seem to live long and drinking many cups of tea leads to iron deficiency. Compounds in tea called tannins can combine with nonheme iron and make it less available for absorption.

It is noted that black tea and green tea decreases the absorption of iron and putting lemon juice in the tea helps to absorb the iron.

Coffee drinkers may also decrease absorption of iron, but not to that extent as tea consumption.

The body manufactures metabolites which are waste by-products produced within your cells. Coffee seems to block those metabolites circulating in your body. It is the waste metabolites, believed to trigger inflammation that’s known to drive diseases like Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases. Infact, people having Alzheimer’s are given plenty of coffee to stimulate the brain cells, which keeps them more active.

So, caffeine in your coffee slows down the aging process.

It is said that two cups of coffee a day halves your chances of liver damage as in fatty livers and cirrhosis. Coffee may undo liver damage from alcohol.
Coffee drinkers seem to have less incidence of diabetes, and those who suffer from diabetes may increase insulin sensitivity.

In conclusion- drink more coffee than tea. In the Western world people drink more coffee and they seem to be more active in life.

It was fashionable for the old ladies customarily getting together for high tea in the UK, used to sip Lipton’s tea whilst engaged in their chit chats. UK seems to be the highest tea drinkers in the world and then comes the middle East countries. People in US seems to drink more coffee than tea.

Caffeine is a drug that is very similar in action to theophylline which is a bronchodilator drug. It is given to asthmatics to open the airways and relieve the wheezing, coughing and breathlessness in asthma. Caffeine found in coffee and tea, can act as a bronchodilator.
In 1993, Dr. Scott T. Weis of Harvard Medical School studied 20,000 asthma patients and found that those who regularly drank coffee suffered one-third fewer symptoms than those who did not drink. So, it is recommended that asthma sufferers drink coffee every day could help relieve some of your symptoms, but still medication may be required.

Tea also contains natural theophylline, but the amount is much less than that used to treat asthma.

Whether you drink tea or coffee be mindful and think that you are drinking for your health and feel the difference.

Hope this article was useful.

Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey): Government scholar to the UK for high studies.

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