Tea or Coffee: Which Morning Brew is Best?

by | Oct 4, 2023 | Food & Nutrition

If estimates are anything to go by, coffee and tea enjoy a 50/50 split in popularity. Understandably, this battle of two halves has resulted in a few “heated” debates, namely deciding which brew is the best way to begin your day.

Well, a new study could tip the scales. Turns out tea drinkers, especially those sipping on dark teas (think: Early Grey, Breakfast, etc.), may be brewing up the best defense against Type 2 diabetes. According to research presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, regularly drinking dark teas could slash your risk of disease by up to 53%.

“Our findings hint at the protective effects of habitual tea drinking on blood sugar management via increased glucose excretion in urine, improved insulin resistance, and thus better control of blood sugar,” said Prof Tongzhi Wu, co-lead author of the study.

READ MORE: 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking Rooibos Tea This Winter

But that doesn’t mean that tea has conquered coffee in this battle for mug supremacy. Coffee packs plenty of benefits, too, and we’re here to make a case that you shouldn’t discriminate against either. After all, no one is stopping you from sipping on both.

Coffee’s Percolated Perks

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Tea’s ability to ward off diabetes isn’t unique. In fact, coffee has long been shown to provide adequate defense against the disease. One study found that those who regularly sip on java were far less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those abstaining from this powerful morning elixir.

Let’s look at a few more health benefits of drinking coffee:

1. Avoid Kidney Stones

If you haven’t had the misfortune of having to pass a kidney stone, trust us: you’ve been seriously spared. These rock-solid deposits of minerals and acid salts can take days to pass and will cause some next-level pain on their way out. Bigger mortar? You might even need to undergo medical procedures to mine this rock from your organ.

Thankfully, your morning brew could help prevent this agonising experience. Regular caffeine intake has been shown to prevent the formation of these mineral deposits. The reason? Your morning brew is a diuretic that makes you pee more helping flush out potential build-ups. However, any tea containing caffeine can help expel these pesky stones, too, so consider this a point for both leaves and beans.

2. Improve Your Memory

According to a study published in Natural Neuroscience, sipping on a reasonably strong coffee can help ramp up your memory. Participants were asked to look at a series of images and then served up a cup of the good stuff. Those who had warmed up with a brew were better able to recall details about the pics 24 hours later than those who had skipped the caffeinated beverage.

3. Train Harder

A Coventry University study found that cyclists who downed a cup of coffee before their rides were significantly quicker than their caffeine-deprived peers. There’s a reason most gym bros swear by pre-workout.

4. Slash Your Cancer Risk

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that those who sipped on four or more cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to develop skin cancer than those who didn’t drink java. Why? Researchers posit that chlorogenic acid in coffee might help suppress the development of melanoma.

5. Boost Your Mood

A study published in the journal Nutrients found that guys who knocked back at least four cups of coffee each day were less likely to suffer from depression than men who skipped their morning brew. Caffeine can help spark the transmission of dopamine; the hormone responsible for regulating your mood.

Tea’s Top-Tier Rewards

cup of rooibos tea
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Sold on coffee? The fight’s not over yet. Tea has a few punches to throw, and it’s more than able to hold its own. Did you know that this leafy brew can help prevent heart disease? A Japanese study found that more green tea consumption corresponded with a decrease in deaths by stroke, heart disease and respiratory disease.

READ MORE: Overdosed on Coffee? Here’s What To Do

Here are a few more reasons to put the kettle on:

1. Burn More Calories

Looking for the ultimate workout supplement? Tea, or more specifically green tea, could be exactly what you need. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sipping on green tea might help boost your metabolism, ramping up your calorie burn by as much as 4%. Researchers in the US also unearthed further evidence that drinking black tea might also help you torch flab.

2. Improve Focus

Coffee’s memory-boosting powers aren’t unique. In fact, turmeric tea might help you nab even better focus than your favourite morning brew. One study found that curcumin, a compound found in turmeric tea, could be a massive boon for your cognitive abilities. Some researchers speculate that this same ingredient may also help reduce oxidative stress and bio-metal toxicity, two of the main contributors to Alzheimer’s.

3. Lower Blood Pressure

Some research has found that drinking tea daily could help lower your blood pressure and prevent serious cardiovascular events like strokes and heart attacks. Why? Black tea packs theaflavins which have been shown to slash your cholesterol levels. It also contains flavonoids, chemicals that might reduce your risk of heart disease. These flavonoids have also been shown to help bolster your immune system.

4. Prevent Cancer

According to some studies, green tea might help prevent certain cancers such as liver, breast and prostate cancer. Oolong tea, for example, has been shown to be an effective defense against tumour growth.

READ MORE: Sip Easy: 6 Science-Backed Benefits of Drinking Coffee in the Morning

5. Protect Your Skin

Spending time under the sun can be good for your health, but those scorching UV rays can also wreak havoc with your skin. While nothing will trump lathering up with SPF and putting a strict curfew on the hours you spend in the light, sipping on green tea might help make your skin more resistant to ultraviolet radiation, ultimately preventing wrinkles.

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