The benefits of tea and coffee

Both coffee and tea contain high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. The polyphenols found in both coffee and tea combat the oxidation of fats in the blood and therefore help protect against heart disease and cancer. These polyphenols can also have a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome. More and more evidence is coming to light on how important a healthy gut microbiome is, including positive effects on blood vessel function, blood pressure and body weight.

Both beverages also include caffeine. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that can improve memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and even general mental function. When we drink coffee or tea, the beverage ends up in our digestive tract where caffeine is transported into the bloodstream. When caffeine reaches the brain, it has an effect on our neurotransmitters (or brain messengers), producing these stimulatory effects.

Caffeine may also boost metabolic rate, but it is thought that this may be less true in habitual coffee drinkers. Caffeine is a common substance used by athletes to reduce the feelings of fatigue during training or competition, allowing for higher output. If you are after these performance-enhancing effects of caffeine, consider consuming some coffee or tea 30 minutes to 1 hour before your training session. 

Health benefits of coffee and tea

Other positive health outcomes of drinking coffee and tea may include a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s and certain types of cancer. While coffee may increase blood pressure slightly, this usually becomes less pronounced if you drink coffee regularly and in fact, there is some evidence that coffee drinkers may actually have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Some critics of coffee and tea may say that both drinks will dehydrate you but, in reality, both drinks will contribute toward your daily fluid intake. We know consuming enough fluids is important in maintaining cognitive and physical performance.

What about different kinds of tea?

While green tea is often viewed as the healthier tea alternative, both black and green tea are sourced from the same plant. Green tea doesn’t undergo quite as much processing as black tea. This means green tea is left with higher levels of one particular flavonoid, catechins. Other herbal teas may have all kinds of benefits due to the different plant ingredients present. A maximum of four cups of coffee or tea per day is usually fine for most healthy people. If you are watching your weight, however, you may want to consider the amount or type of milk added and how much (if any) sugar you are adding, as these things can all add up!


About the author

Cheyenne Holman

Cheyenne Holman

Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)
Accredited Sports Dietitian
Certified Personal Trainer
Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher