Whether you are team Green Tea or team Coffee – you will want to read this one!
Both green tea and coffee are considered some of the most consumed beverages in the world and are found internationally. In most cities, every corner will have a coffee/tea shop or café and it’s a big part of most cultures. Workplaces have even coined the phrase “coffee breaks” which are most likely seen as productivity boosters due to the one ingredient we know as caffeine.
And for many of us, our morning brew is the one thing we look forward to when we get up and rely on to give us the energy to get through those busy mornings. But have you ever wondered if one caffeine source is better for you than the other?
Both coffee and green tea have caffeine, but in different amounts. Also, our bodies respond differently to each one since they each have different chemical properties.
Let’s compare them, shall we?
Green tea is made from unfermented, dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and was discovered around 5,000 years ago in China and then spread to Japan, Europe, Great Britain, America and eventually went global. It contains 32 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup.
There are also different varieties of green tea such as matcha, sencha, pinhead gunpowder, hyson, young hyson and dragon well and they can all be consumed hot or iced. Some companies have infused green tea with other complementary flavors like jasmine. Green tea like other teas are steeped as loose leaf or already prepared in little filter-like bags called tea bags.
Some of the health benefits Green Tea can provide are:
→ antioxidant -rich: due to the concentrated amount of catechins which may help prevent cell damage and even lower your risk of several chronic diseases
→ boosts brain function: improves attention, memory and focus
→ Decrease Stress Levels: due to l-theanine which increases alpha wave activity in the brain, which induces relaxation and decreases stress levels
→ Cancer Prevention: contains ECGC, a polyphenol that shields cells from cancer-causing free radicals.
→ Aid in weight loss: by increasing metabolism and burning fat (especially pairing with exercise)
→Improve cardiovascular health: it may lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation.
→ can help soothe migraines
→ can help regulate blood sugar and insulin
Acid or Alkaline?
The pH of green tea falls within a range between 7 and 10. Most kinds of matcha tea are about a 9 on the pH scale, which means they are quite alkaline. The lower acidity means it’s a good choice for anyone with a sensitive stomach.
Impact of Caffeine on the body
Caffeine in green tea is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream because the caffeine molecules bind to green teas denser catechins. When the catechins break down, caffeine enters the bloodstream over a four to eight-hour period for a longer, sustained energy boost. The slow release of caffeine prevents a caffeine crash and drop in blood sugar.
What are the downsides?
Not much is found here other than too much caffeine, in general, is not good; so moderation is key here. Also, it can be quite more expensive than coffee.
Coffee has 3 times more caffeine than green tea coming in at 96 mg per 8oz cup. There’s a bit of a debate on who and where coffee was discovered. One is that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia in the 15th century or in Yemen around the same time period. Coffee is prepared from roasted coffee beans from the Coffea plant.
Coffee is now cultivated all around the world in places such as the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. There are also different types of coffee beans which are arabica, robusta, excelsia and liberica and can come in light, medium or dark roasts. Coffee can also be consumed hot or iced and in many forms like espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, drip, french press or instant.
Some of the health benefits coffee can provide are:
→ Antioxidant-rich: has the polyphenol CGA that helps fight or protect against certain cancers such as liver, endometrial and skin cancers
→ Boost energy: enhances your metabolic rate and the release of adrenaline, the hormone in the brain responsible for energy release
→ Weight Management: by burning body fat and altering fat storage
→ Regulate blood sugar and reduce insulin sensitivity: ability to preserve the function of the beta cells in your pancreas
Acid or Alkaline?
Coffee is acidic with a ph of 4.85 to 5.10. This can increase stomach acid output and cause symptoms such as acid reflux. The repeated acidity can potentially damage the lining of your digestive tract and may induce ulcer formation and inflammation of the gastric wall.
Lastly, the acidity can also erode tooth enamel over time.
Impact of Caffeine on the body
The caffeine in coffee enters the bloodstream quickly—it takes only 15 minutes for 99% of the caffeine to be absorbed into the body. Many coffee drinkers experience an energy spike and even jittery, followed by a crash, leaving them reaching for another cup.
Are there any downsides?
Within my research, I found many more negative side effects from coffee vs green tea. Here are some of my findings:
- Central Nervous System Stimulant: stimulates cardiovascular system raising blood pressure and heart rate
- Acts as a Diuretic – depends on how much you are having but 1-2 large Tim Hortons coffee /day will have dehydrating effects if you are not consuming enough water to counteract this
- Disrupts sleep patterns: especially if consumed past noon. This can lead to adrenal exhaustion, stress, fatigue
- Dependence – unable to function without it, and may have severe withdrawal affects like headaches and irritability
- coffee caffeine may leach calcium from the bones
- Digestion Compromised:
- premature emptying of the digestive tract- may cause diarrhea
- Or the opposite effect – digestion can slow down ,as it increases production of hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline, which can decrease blood flow to the intestines, thereby slowing the process of digestion
- Caffeinism more likely to occur with excess consumption
- a state of intoxication from excess caffeine consumption associated to physical and mental side effects: depression, nervousness, irritability, headaches, heart palpitations, and insomnia.
- Heavily Sprayed Crop: coffee beans are among the most heavily sprayed crops in the world, containing pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. (unless buying organic)
So, who is the leader for its health benefits?
In my opinion, GREEN TEA is by far the winner!
Especially with those that suffer from digestive disorders like reflux, IBS, diarrhea, or mood imbalances such as anxiety, depression and stress.
Both coffee and green tea have health-promoting properties when consumed in moderation, supporting energy levels and cognitive function, through their caffeine and antioxidant content. However, if you’re looking to reap health benefits with fewer caffeine jitters and less acidity, matcha is the way to go.
Plus, there aren’t many cons to drinking green tea, which is the main reason it’s my #1 choice.
Caffeine In Moderation
With all that being said, we still need to be mindful of overall caffeine intake, regardless of which type.
For those who love to enjoy the coffee flavor and the remarkable health benefits of matcha tea (including me!), I recommend having matcha/green tea three to four days per week and coffee one to three times per week. Or if you drink multiple cups of coffee per day, swap your 2nd one with green tea.
No matter which one you choose, green tea or coffee, they are best consumed black as all of the ingredients that are available to add to them are in great contrast to their health benefits. These add-ons would be creams, milks, sugars and syrups.
If you are looking for some NEW recipes to try for next morning cup of coffee/green tea see these recipes below:
I would love to know below, are you TEAM COFFEE OR TEAM GREEN TEA?