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Coffee vs. Tea: Health Benefits

Fitness

-- This is guest blog written by Samantha Olivier --

Coffee and tea are universal drinks – wherever you go, you can notice the differences in the preparation of these drinks, as well as the times, occasions, and ways in which people consume them. No matter how you take them, one thing is certain – both tea and coffee are quite beneficial for your health and wellbeing. The market is filled with a wide range of options to choose from, and you will certainly be able to find a flavor that suits your tastes.

Health Benefits of Tea

The birthplace of tea is China, and legend has it that Shen Nung, the second emperor of China, discovered it in 2737 BC, when leaves blew into his pot of boiling water. Served hot or iced, tea is a tasty beverage for every season and it has been proven to improve health.

Tea is full of antioxidants that help keeping our body young and protect it from illness and other types of body pollution. It has 50% less caffeine than coffee, while it is most often revered for its effect on heart health. Combined data from earlier reports has found a nearly 35% reduced risk of stroke and 20% reduction in the risk of heart attack among people who drank 1-3 cups of green tea each day. Some research has also found that tea may prevent or slow bone loss as well as boost your immune system by tuning the immune cells so they quickly reach their targets.

Herbal teas, such as chamomile, can soothe the digestive system and it is recommended to those with irritable bowel syndrome. Unadulterated tea is completely free of calories and is an alternative to water (while it provides many options for versatility and flavor).

Health Benefits of Coffee

Did you know that in 1683, four acres of land were worth as much as one pound of coffee? Or that both the French Revolution and the American Revolution were born in coffee houses? So, how about a cup of Joe? If you don’t prefer to drink it, there are various coffee recipes for cakes, cheesecakes, and mousses. Even yogurts!

Coffee contains caffeine, and it can increase energy levels and help people feel less tired, because once caffeine reaches the brain, it blocks adenosine – an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters increase, improving your brain functions – mood, reaction times, energy levels, memory, and general cognitive functions.

Caffeine causes the brain to send signals for breaking down body fat by stimulating it, which lead to an increase in epinephrine levels in the blood, which makes the body ready for physical exertion. The fat gets released into the bloodstream as free fatty acids, which the body can use as fuel. A cup of coffee before hitting the gym can thus be quite beneficial for your fitness goals.

Many essential nutrients are found in the drink. By drinking one cup of coffee, you intake potassium, manganese, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin and magnesium. Currently, about 300 million people worldwide are afflicted by type II diabetes. However, coffee aficionados have a reduced risk of developing this disease. It has a protective effect on the liver, protecting you against cirrhosis (the risk can be up to 80% lower with people who drink at least 4 cups per day).

Coffee also helps in fighting depression, according to a 2011 Harvard study. Women who consumed 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20 percent lower risk of becoming depressed. And a fact interesting for people who follow a standard Western Diet – coffee is your biggest source of antioxidants. It contains massive amounts of them, and you get more of them from coffee that both vegetables and fruits combined.

If I had to choose to drink only one,  it would be tea, especially green and matcha, since we can drink more and achieve a prolonged effect. Tea is also an affordable and convenient option, the choices are endless and you can easily make it in large quantities.

Whether you prefer to start your day with a cup of black coffee, or wind down the afternoon with a mug of green tea, you are, perhaps even unknowingly, doing yourself a world of good.

written by Samantha Olivier

Samantha Olivier has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter @sam_olivier_ or in a tea shop. She also blogs at www.ripped.me.

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