Green tea and coffee are two of the most popular sources of morning caffeine in the world. They provide doses of the world’s most widely used stimulant, increasing blood flow and heart rate to make coffee and tea-sippers feel more awake. Better yet, natural coffees and teas are generally healthy drinks, with a robust range of nutritional benefits.
So which is better–coffee or tea? There’s no one answer; whether you should start your day with a latte or a boiling kettle will be influenced by multiple factors, from your age and gender to your personal preferences in regards to taste and energy. In this post, we’ll dive into the details and explore what makes coffee or tea the right choice for different people.
The takeaway: all-natural teas and coffees are made directly from plant sources. Because plants are nutrient-rich–they pick up antioxidants and healthy minerals directly from the soil they grow in–coffees and teas alike contain ingredients that are healthy for us.
For example, green tea is a source of natural compounds known as antioxidants which serve to boost the immune system, enabling our bodies to fight infection. Green tea actually has a higher antioxidant content level than coffee does—so it can bring complex health benefits.
That’s not to say that coffee is unhealthy, though. Nutrients contained in all-natural coffee include potassium, magnesium, and riboflavin.
If health is your priority in your morning coffee routine, then the antioxidant-rich green tea may be the choice to make. But both coffee and tea can form part of a healthy and balanced diet. The key is to limit caffeine intake because too-high levels can be damaging to the body. The recommended daily maximum is 400 grams.
Your morning drink routine should also be shaped by the optimal level of caffeine you’d like to stay energized without getting jittery.
Both green tea and coffee offer caffeine, but green tea has about one-tenth of the caffeine in a latte. If you need a larger boost of morning energy to get going, a cup of coffee could provide a quick solution. If, on the other hand, you prefer a more gentle wake-up call, tea contains natural stimulants without the higher dosages found in coffee.
It’s also important to ensure that your morning caffeine levels aren’t too high. What “too high” means will vary from person to person, depending on factors including age, gender, weight, and health conditions, as well as medications that might cause side effects. The overuse of caffeine can cause headaches, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. Some mental health conditions, such as anxiety, can also be exacerbated by overly caffeinated drinks.
The measure of a proper caffeine level also extends to personal preference and temperament. One person may find that coffee makes them anxious and overwhelmed, while another may find that green tea leaves them too sleepy. Tolerance matters, too; a longtime coffee drinker may feel ill without their typical levels of morning caffeine. The key is to experiment and determine what feels best.
A final step to fashioning a healthy morning caffeine routine is to think about the additives you’re including in your caffeinated drink. Natural coffee and tea on their own are healthy, but milk, syrups, and creams can quickly increase the calorie and sugar content of your morning drink.
Note that this may be more of a problem when it comes to coffee drinks. Frappuccinos and lattes have higher milk contents and may include additives such as whipped cream and chocolate syrup, making it a less healthy morning choice, especially over time.
Coffee or tea with (or without) milk and sugar can both be great morning drinks: they help give us energy and get us started on our days. Try different combinations yourself to see what drink gives you the best combination of alertness, great taste, and health benefits!