Tea vs coffee – which is best for you and what about decaf?
Tea and coffee are comfortably the most popular hot beverages in the world, with millions of us across the globe unable to face the day without our morning fixes. While both have their unique tastes and benefits, however, many wonder which one is better for their health, if either? With the rise of more palatable decaf options, people are also questioning whether decaf is a healthier choice.
Tea – the good and the bad
Tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years and is known in many countries such as China and Japan for its potential health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and contains compounds like catechins and theanine, which can boost brain function and reduce stress levels. Some studies have also shown that drinking tea regularly may reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and certain types of cancer.
On the other hand, tea does contain caffeine, which can cause insomnia, jitteriness, and anxiety in some people. Additionally, certain types of tea, like black tea, can stain teeth if consumed regularly. These drawbacks are not as obvious, however, in green teas.
Coffee – the good and the bad
Coffee is known more for its high caffeine content than tea and is a stronger and more bitter alternative that’s more popular in the US. Of course, large amounts of caffeine can boost energy levels and improve mental alertness, making it a popular choice for people who need to stay focused and awake throughout the day. Some studies have also shown that drinking coffee regularly may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and certain types of cancer.
However, coffee can also cause side effects like insomnia, anxiety, and even digestive issues, with the link between heavy coffee drinking and IBS quite strong. Additionally, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and consuming too much coffee can lead to jitters and crashes.
While they were once seen as sources of derision, in much the same way that non-alcoholic beer has become more socially acceptable in recent years, decaf tea and coffee have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many people are looking for ways to enjoy the taste of their favourite beverages without caffeine and the methods of removing caffeine without impacting flavour have arguably got a lot better in recent years.
While decaf options may be a good choice for people who are sensitive to caffeine, they do have some drawbacks. For example, decaf tea and coffee may not have the same health benefits as their caffeinated counterparts. Some decaf teas and coffees may also contain trace amounts of caffeine, which can still cause side effects in some people.
Which One Is Best for You?
Ultimately, the choice between tea and coffee depends on personal preference and individual health needs. If you are sensitive to caffeine or are looking for a low-caffeine option, then tea may be a better choice. However, if you need a higher level of energy to get you through the day, then coffee may be the better option for you.
It’s worth remembering that both tea and coffee can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. They will also both taste better and provide more obvious health benefits if brewed with fresh, filtered water.