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What’s the best part of waking up? It depends on who you ask. Coffee aficionados will wax for hours about the relative merits of freezing your beans and where the best place to source them is. Tea drinkers, conversely, may discuss the various benefits of different herbal blends, adding sweetness and tang without a hint of sugar.
Both of these beverages are popular morning choices, and for once, there’s good news about your daily habits. Either coffee or tea will start your day with a heaping dose of healthy deliciousness. Many of the health benefits of coffee and tea are quite similar, but there are some differences.
What will you have this morning? Coffee or tea? Here’s a peek at the health benefits of each.
Health Benefits of Coffee
Did you hear it’s a bad health choice to stop by your local coffee shop daily? The problem isn’t the magical bean water in your brew — it’s all the sugary syrups and heavy creams that add unnecessary calories to your beverage. You’re more than welcome to indulge in a morning mug — and doing so has the following perks.
1. Improves Mental Alertness
Do you have a big test in the day ahead? Why not start your morning with a cup of joe? One study found that coffee reduced cognitive failures and accidents by half among those working the night shift. It can also come in handy during the midday slump, so follow your lunch with a takeout container of magical bean water if your exam falls in the afternoon.
There’s a reason you reach for joe in the morning. Coffee can help you overcome sleep inertia, the decline in manual dexterity and feelings of grogginess that occur shortly after rising. It truly does open your eyes.
2. Accelerates Physical Performance
Have a marathon approaching? Sip some morning joe. According to a meta-analysis, most studies show that caffeine positively enhances athletic performance, so much so that it is the official stance of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
What can a cup of coffee do? It can make you run faster, jump higher and last longer on the field. The secret is sticking to a cup or two to get the energizing effects without the accompanying jitters.
3. Lowers Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Millions of Americans currently live with prediabetes, and this condition threatens their health. Daily coffee may reduce your chances of developing the disorder.
However, there’s some evidence that caffeine harms glucose metabolism. Other studies with middle-aged women find that moderate consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee has beneficial effects, suggesting that it is something in coffee different from the “go-juice” that results in this perk.
4. Reduces Your Alzheimer’s Risk
Do you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease? One study of 227 cognitively healthy individuals found that high coffee consumption (between three and five cups a day) slowed amyloid plaque formation and cognitive decline associated with dementia.
5. Helps Restore Liver Health
Do you reach for a cup of joe after a night on the town? Doing so could help your liver recover from the damage you inflicted. The World Health Organization recently analyzed over 1,000 human studies, and determined drinking coffee lowers liver cancer risk.
Additionally, it can help prevent other liver conditions, such as fibrosis and cirrhosis. It doesn’t matter how you prepare the coffee — pressed, instant or espresso.
Health Benefits of Tea
Coffee has a lot going for it, but what about tea? This beverage also offers impressive benefits.
First, it helps to differentiate between the two types of tea. Official “tea” comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which produces various black, green and white teas depending on harvesting and cultivation methods.
Herbal tea uses the bark, flowers, leaves and roots of medicinal plants to impart specific benefits. It’s one of the oldest methods of imparting medicine, but it’s also a delicious way to add flavor. Best of all, you can drink a true tea, an herbal mixture or a combination of both. Here are five reasons why you should.
1. Increases Your Chances of Longevity
Tea can add years to your life and life to those years. One study found that regular tea drinkers (two or more cups daily) lived over a year longer than those who did not. Furthermore, they developed heart disease and stroke nearly a year and a half longer than non-drinkers.
2. Lowers Your Heart Disease Risk
Likewise, the polyphenols in tea may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. This condition remains the number one killer of men and women worldwide, so it makes sense to prevent it.
While numerous studies have noted the association, one of the largest involved over 70,000 participants in Japan. Researchers found an inverse relationship between heart disease and drinking six or more cups of green tea each day. You can enjoy this beverage cold or iced — perhaps switching the contents of your water bottle can extend your life span?
Stress plays a huge role in heart disease. While to date, no studies confirm using anti-anxiety herbal teas to lower heart disease risk, adding a bit of lemongrass, chamomile, lavender or passionflower couldn’t hurt.
3. Fights Inflammation
Both green and black tea fight inflammation, thanks to the hefty dose of flavonoids they deliver. However, green tea has more, making it the better choice if you have chronic ailments like arthritis that leave you achy.
Some herbal teas may go further in fighting inflammation. For example, turmeric and ginger have noted anti-inflammatory contents, and a mix of this golden brew may help if you have fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis.
Trikatu tea is an Ayurvedic remedy that some scientists are now investigating as a possible COVID-19 remedy. The traditional recipe calls for ginger, black pepper and Indian long pepper, although a bonus dose of turmeric couldn’t hurt.
4. Boosts Your Immune Function
Both traditional and herbal teas may boost your immune system through various mechanisms. White has the highest antioxidant levels and lowest caffeine amount, making it a possible tool in cancer prevention.
Herbal teas have various immune-boosting benefits. For example, rooibos can improve blood pressure while easing allergy symptoms, and hibiscus can stave off kidney stones.
5. Reduces Your Cancer Risks
The polyphenols and antioxidants in tea may slash your cancer risk. Some petri dish studies show that green tea can prevent cancer cells from proliferating, although scientists have yet to replicate results in humans.
However, you might want to let your beverage cool to prevent esophageal cancer. Let it sit for four or five minutes after pouring, or add an ice cube or two if you’re parched.
Both Are Chock-Full of Antioxidants
Where does much of these morning beverages’ magic come from? The secret lies in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals. Free radicals steal electrons from otherwise healthy cells, leading to mutation and death. Getting more of them in your life prevents numerous diseases — so rejoice! It’s okay to feel good about your morning cuppa — you’re doing your body good.
Weigh the Health Benefits of Coffee or Tea
Should you enjoy coffee or tea to wake up? The answer? It’s ultimately up to you.
Whether you opt for coffee or tea, you’re sure to get a heaping dose of antioxidants to start your day, preventing various diseases. So take pride in your morning cuppa — congratulations on starting your day with a heaping scoop of positive self-care and enjoy the health benefits of coffee of tea in your routine.
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