Coffee vs. Tea: Which Is Healthier?

Published October 11, 2011

| FoxNews.com

Q: I wanted to know if coffee or tea is better for you?

A: For this question, we turned to Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter. Here’s what he had to say.

For centuries, coffee has been praised for its invigorating properties. And it is truly healthy for you. Coffee stimulates the flow of blood in the brain and decreases mental fatigue. It rouses the mental faculties.

However, when comparing coffee and tea – and which one is healthier – it all depends.

For the most part, coffee is healthier for you. The majority of people who drink tea, drink it black, and there’s no question that naturally occurring compounds in coffee are exceptionally good for you. And here's why:

Two large cups of coffee, or 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, can improve a negative mood. Drinking coffee appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease – coffee drinkers have about three to six times lower risk of developing the disease compared to non-coffee drinkers. The reduction risk improves as consumption increases from four ounces to 24 ounces per day.

Research into the chemical properties of coffee show that a cup of Joe contains potent, protective antioxidants, which inhibit the rusting of cells in our bodies. Oxidative damage is associated with diabetes, arthritis and cancer, among many other health issues, and antioxidants are helpful in reducing the risk of some diseases and cell life.

Coffee is especially high in one group of antioxidants, flavonoids. These compounds exhibit protective power against cardiovascular disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, or the ‘bad’ cholesterol. So, coffee protects against heart attacks and strokes.

It is known that coffee stimulates bowel activity, but it also reduces the risk of digestive disorders – like gallstones and cirrhosis of the liver. More impressively, coffee has a protective effect against colon and rectal cancers.

And coffee is even safe for pregnant women. There is no increased risk of miscarriage as a result of moderate coffee drinking, and there is no known association with delayed fetal growth or increased rates of birth defects.

But if you’re drinking green tea, which is simply tea that hasn’t been fermented, then I would probably have to say that green tea is the healthier drink. It’s rich in flavenols, which are lost when the tea is fermented.

The bottom line: If you’re talking about coffee and black tea, coffee is the healthier choice. If you’re a green tea drinker, green tea is the healthier choice.

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