We all have our own morning routines. Mine usually includes a glass of water or juice, some vitamins, and a serving of whole grain toast or oatmeal or an English muffin, while making my son’s school lunch for the day and cooking his chocolate chip pancake. Meanwhile, a cup of coffee is brewing in our Ninja coffee maker. The aroma fills the house and signals that it’s time to wake up almost more than the sunlit coming in through the windows. Sometimes I can enjoy that cup of coffee right away; other times I take it outside while we wait for the bus. Most times I have to reheat it after everyone dashes out of the house. Nevertheless, I will have my hot cup of coffee each morning.
But coffee is not for everyone. Some prefer their steaming and aromatic cup of tea. Tea is considered a genteel drink; it takes time to prepare properly and is deserving of being enjoyed and sipped. It is also argued that tea has several medicinal and health benefits. While the list of health benefits varies as much as the flavors of tea that you can purchase in any store, the most notable benefits are fighting heart disease and cancer. The molecular components and medicinal benefits get too complicated for me, but the way that I understand the importance of tea is that it decreases cholesterol, triglyceride, and fatty acids. Tea also contains high levels of antioxidants, which keep cholesterol from turning to bad cholesterol as well as reducing cell damage from free radicals .
Conversely, coffee contains cafestol, which increases cholesterol. Decaffeinated coffee is just coffee with caffeine removed, so it still contains cafestol. Still, coffee is not all bad. Historically, coffee has been used to ease asthma symptoms as far back as the 1850’s. It contains more caffeine (also an antioxidant) than tea, which has been linked to decreasing the chance for heart attack by neutralizing an enzyme that causes congestion in the veins. Caffeine also increases brain function while lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and Parkinson’s Disease. Who knew that high doses of caffeine would ease things like asthma attacks and heart disease!
Now that we have established that each has it’s own benefits, the debate still remains: Coffee or Tea. I prefer one cup of hot coffee each morning, but I cannot deny that there are side effects. Since brewed coffee has so much more caffeine than brewed tea (Coffee has approximately 125-185 milligrams of caffeine per cup as tea has approximately 55 milligrams of caffeine per cup) and it enters the bloodstream so much faster than tea, coffee drinkers sometimes feel jittery and anxious shortly after a cup, followed by a “letdown” or a “crash”. I am the exception to this rule – coffee relaxes me and I often want to take a morning nap after coffee. Tea drinkers do not experience “jitters” because tea absorbs slowly and has less caffeine.
Whatever you prefer, please do it in moderation. That means no more than two cups of either one a day. So let’s hear it – are you coffee or tea?