Tea and coffee are the two hot beverages that feature most in our day to day lives. For some it’s a coffee to kick start the day and a nice hot cup of tea to wind down in the evening. Other people can’t start the day without a large cup of tea to accompany their breakfast and rely on the buzz of a coffee mid-afternoon to push you through to the end of the day. As we make our way through the work week, we rely on them as a pair to fulfill our hot beverage needs, even on a summer’s day we stick ice in them and enjoy them cold. But when it comes to our health, coffee and tea seem to have a bit of rivalry going on, and it’s not hard to see why.
For a long time, scientists and of course the media have painted coffee to be a negative force in our lives. A secret addiction we all suffer from that causes us anxiety, gives us headaches and if, heaven forbid, we don’t get chance to consume our afternoon fix, turns us into a stressed and shaky mess. Tea, on the other hand, has never had this bad publicity. In fact the worst thing tea will do to you is stain your teeth and contribute to environmental issues with its unnecessary single-packet packaging.
You often hear people say they’re cutting back on the caffeine – no more coffee for me, I need to cut back – whereas you rarely hear anybody talking about tea in the same way – an unfair ruling considering both contribute to a darker shade of teeth and both become a habitual drink within our lives.
With this in mind, I think it’s time to look at the natural health benefits that coffee can offer us and that despite it’s bad publicity, coffee has a lot to offer.
Back to Basics
Coffee is one of few drinks that can be consumed in its most natural form. Ground coffee in hot water is the most basic and low fat, low calorie drink but almost all of us are guilty of adding full fat milk, perhaps a sugar or a sweetener, and even flavored syrups. These all contribute to making coffee that bit unhealthier.
Rather than adding milk to your Americano, try taking it black. Yes, it might taste bitter at first, but once you acquire your taste you will notice there are some wonderful flavours in coffee, and you will start to notice the different blends and how they vary in taste. If you do need something to take the edge off, try adding almond or coconut milk and a taste of cinnamon. These are more natural flavours that will compliment your coffee without adding extra calories.
Caffeine is one of the elements of coffee that for many years has been considered bad for us. Of course anything that is consumed excessively can have negative effects on our bodies, and everything we eat and drink should be done so in moderation.
Recently however, scientists have actually removed the ‘dangerous and unhealthy’ label so often associated with our favorite caffeinated drink. A research group at John Hopkins University discovered that in actual fact drinking a cup of coffee can give you a mental boost for around 45 minutes after consumption – a helpful thing to remember if you’re having one of those slow days at work. Coffee can also improve the quality of your memories for up to 24 hours and of course we all know the caffeine not only helps keep us more alert, it also speeds up reaction times on those mornings when we’re really struggling to keep our eyes open.
A Coffee a day (or four) keeps the Doctor away
In a recent study by the American Cancer Society, it has been discovered that people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 49% lower risk of developing cancers of the mouth or throat than those who don’t. There was also no correlation in the study that says tea or decaf coffee can provide this same benefit.
Of course, scientists are not suggesting everyone should consume this much coffee a day, you may have trouble sleeping at night if you’re not already a hardcore coffee drinker, but for those who do enjoy a lot of coffee this is certainly some good news!