Coffee or tea – which is healthier?

Depending on whom you listen to and which papers you read there are many conflicting reports on the health benefits of coffee and tea. Some reports talk about the negative consequences of caffeine while others look at the benefits.

On balance, there seem to be more reports suggesting that both coffee and tea provide significant health benefits.

The positives
Among other things, researchers have discovered that coffee has the ability to reduce the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s and type two diabetes. Caffeine has also been shown to relieve constricting blood vessels in the brain, reducing migraines.

Tea has been shown to contain powerful antioxidants and cancer-fighting properties and can also help reduce hardening of blood vessels.

Tea drinkers have a significantly lower risk of stroke and heart disease, and the beverage is known to boost brain health. One health study of older adults found that those who drank less than three cups of green tea a week had a higher risk of age-related declines in memory than those who drank more than two cups.

Tea drinkers also have a higher bone density levels and slower rates of bone loss, plus their cells have a younger biological age than non-drinkers.

The negatives
Coffee is more acidic, so if you have stomach issues or digestive problems, tea is going to cause you fewer issues. Also counting in tea’s favour is the fact that coffee is believed to negatively affect bone density and its increased caffeine content is not great if you have high blood pressure.

Tea is not without its negative impacts. Some studies have shown that drinking tea can reduce the iron absorbed from plant-based sources. Then there is the more cosmetic issue of teeth discolouration, which results from drinking either beverage.

Our verdict
Regardless of whether you are a tea or coffee drinker, it is the additives that risk doing you the most damage. Adding sugar, sweeteners, cream or milk to either hot drink could significantly reduce the health benefit or either. If you take your cuppa with a sweetener, you will derive a significantly better health outcome from cutting it out than you will from switching drinks.

Given you have most likely built up a strong connection with your drink of choice, most people are unlikely to switch. On balance, drinking tea is the healthier option because it helps with bone density, while coffee does the reverse.

Related articles:
Caffeine may worsen menopause
Caffeine enhances memory
Caffeine keeps you strong

Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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