It might feel like you’re either a coffee drinker or green tea drinker, with people on both sides insisting on why their beverage is better. But both have pros and cons!
How are coffee and green tea similar?
Although they are quite different beverages, coffee and green tea share some traits, such as that they both have health benefits and contain caffeine.
With that in mind, let’s explore coffee and green tea in greater detail so you can see which one is best for you to consume on a regular basis. We’ll start by defining both before looking at what makes them healthy to sip.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the green tea vs. coffee comparison, we got you covered:
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- 1 What Is Green Tea?
- 2 What Is Coffee?
- 3 Green Tea vs. Coffee – What Are Their Health Benefits?
- 3.1 Health Benefits Of Coffee
- 3.2 Health Benefits Of Green Tea
- 4 Which Beverage Does A Better Job Of Keeping You Awake?
- 5 Which Beverage Helps You Lose Weight?
- 6 Green Tea vs. Coffee: What Are The Health Risks?
- 7 Related Questions
- 8 Conclusion
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is made of unfermented leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant from which other teas, such as white, black, and oolong tea, are harvested.
Green tea undergoes different processing than those teas, however, and it contains a high quantity of polyphenols and antioxidants, which are said to have health benefits for the body.
The tea leaves are harvested and quickly heated before being dried. This prevents oxidation that can cause the leaves to become brown and this process also preserves their earthy flavor.
Green tea comes in many varieties, such as matcha and sencha, but the mark of a good-quality cup is that it will taste bittersweet, buttery, floral, oceanic, and fruity!
When steamed, green tea will be more on the bittersweet side, while other types of green tea will be sweeter, as The Spruce Eats reports.
What Is Coffee?
Although you’d be able to pick out a coffee beverage just by sniffing it, there are some things about coffee you might not know.
Coffee can be defined as a brewed drink that’s produced by roasting coffee beans. These beans are seeds of berries from Coffea plants.
When you brew coffee, it will be a bit bitter and acidic, but you can choose from a variety of coffee flavors to tweak its taste. Some will have caramel and chocolate undertones, for example.
You can enjoy coffee in a variety of ways, such as with cream, creamer, milk, or nothing at all. Some of the most popular coffee drinks include the black coffee, cappuccino, latte, and iced coffee.
Green Tea vs. Coffee – What Are Their Health Benefits?
Both green tea and coffee have some amazing health benefits to enjoy. Let’s check them out!
Health Benefits Of Coffee
It seems that every day there’s news about how coffee is beneficial to your health. Here’s a rundown of some of the best benefits you can gain from topping up your cuppa.
Coffee Can Improve Your Workout
Since coffee contains caffeine and caffeine increases how much adrenaline you have in your blood, coffee can boost your workout performance by around 11 percent, as research published in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism has found.
Coffee Increases Your Focus
You know when you drink coffee before a busy day at work you feel a boost of mental energy?
It’s not all in your head. Research published in the European Food Safety Authority journal found that moderate coffee intake of about one to six cups per day improved people’s focus and alertness, so it’s no wonder why it’s so many people’s go-to drink when they need to give 100 percent to a task.
Coffee Reduces Your Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease
The part of the brain that’s associated with Parkinson’s Disease experiences more activity after coffee is consumed.
Research has found that coffee can help to keep Parkinson’s Disease at bay, reducing one’s risk of it by up to 25 percent, as Harvard Health Publishing reports.
Coffee Decreases Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
A study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal found that long-term coffee consumption is linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. One of the reasons for this is that coffee decreases one’s insulin sensitivity.
Coffee Makes You Feel Good
Again, it’s not just your imagination – coffee can help to make you smile! It’s been found that coffee can act as a mild antidepressant as it increases the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, both of which help to boost one’s mood, as the Harvard Gazette reports.
Health Benefits Of Green Tea
Just like with coffee, there are many reasons why people praise green tea. Here are some of the most notable benefits to gain from it.
Green Tea Decreases Bad Cholesterol
Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people consumed green tea they experienced a decrease in their total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad, cholesterol levels.
This is good if you consider that LDL cholesterol can accumulate in your arteries and produce plaque that can lead to many health problems, such as strokes, gallstones, and heart disease.
Green Tea Keeps Your Bones Healthy
Research has found a link between drinking tea and preventing age-related bone loss in both elderly men and women. As Nutrition Research journal reports, consuming green tea helps to keep bone loss at bay and prevent osteoporotic fractures.
One of the studies mentioned in the journal points to how female patients who drank green tea had higher bone mineral density at their lumbar spines than women who didn’t. Bone mineral density basically refers to how strong the bones are.
Green Tea Fights Free Radicals
Since green tea contains antioxidants, these can help to fight free radicals in the body that can cause disease. It contains antioxidants such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a catechin that prevents damage to cells in the body.
Green Tea Is Good For The Heart
Green tea has been found to improve blood flow in the body and also lower cholesterol, both of which are good for the heart.
A review of various research on the topic found that green tea can help to prevent various heart-related health problems, such as heart failure and high blood pressure, as WebMD reports.
Green Tea Boosts Your Brain
Since green tea contains caffeine just like coffee does, but not as much of it, it can give you caffeine-related benefits of helping you to focus on tasks without the negative side effects associated with too much caffeine consumption, such as anxiety.
Caffeine works by blocking a neurotransmitter in the brain called adenosine. This boosts the firing of neurons and also neurotransmitters like dopamine, so it helps you focus on tasks while also boosting your mood.
In addition to the above, green tea protects the brain in a similar way to coffee, helping to ward off illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. This is as a result of its catechins, as Healthline reports.
Which Beverage Does A Better Job Of Keeping You Awake?
You have to pull an all-nighter to study for an exam or you need to do a late shift at work, so you reach for a cup of strong coffee or green tea. Which one is more effective?
To stay awake, you’ll need to drink caffeine. Coffee fares a bit better in this regard because it contains more caffeine per cup as compared to green tea.
One cup of coffee contains about 100-400mg of caffeine depending on the type of coffee, while one cup of green tea will have about 35-80mg.
That said, if you don’t drink coffee it doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your concentration or energy by drinking green tea, as we’ve shown earlier in this article.
Which Beverage Helps You Lose Weight?
Both coffee and green tea are sometimes praised as being beverages that will help to increase your weight loss, but is this true? And, if so, which one is better to help you shed the extra pounds?
Coffee As A Weight-Loss Beverage
The reason why both coffee and green tea have been said to aid in weight loss is because they contain caffeine. Research (via Mayo Clinic) has shown that caffeine can potentially decrease one’s hunger and appetite, but this is only for a short amount of time.
In addition to that, caffeine also increases the body’s energy usage even during periods of rest. This is because it boosts thermogenesis, which refers to how the body produces heat and energy when digesting food.
Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system and by doing so, “tells” the nervous system to send signals to fat cells in the body so that they can be broken down, as Healthline reports. It achieves this by increasing the levels of a hormone known as epinephrine in the blood.
Along with caffeine, coffee also contains other stimulants that can help with weight loss, such as chlorogenic acid which helps to slow down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates.
It’s worth bearing in mind that caffeine can also help you to burn fat faster during a workout. It helps to maintain the body’s glycogen stores and it allows muscles more time before they wear out, as Time reports. This can cause you to have a longer and less painful workout.
Green Tea As A Weight-Loss Beverage
Since it also contains caffeine, green tea can assist you with weight loss.
Thanks to how it contains catechins, green tea can help you lose weight because catechins, of which the most important is EGCG, boost the body’s metabolism.
EGCG also helps to break down fat. It does this by inhibiting the body’s production of an enzyme that breaks down the norepinephrine hormone. This helps the hormone to flourish, assisting in fat getting broken down.
A word of warning!
Before you start increasing your consumption of caffeine drinks, bear this in mind: people become more tolerant to caffeine’s effects over time.
As Healthline reports, caffeine works in the short term by increasing one’s metabolic rate and fat-burning ability, but this doesn’t work in the long term as the body starts to become immune to it.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that both coffee and green tea lead to modest weight-loss results – they should always be part of a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious meals and exercise.
Green Tea vs. Coffee: What Are The Health Risks?
As with anything you consume that offers advantages, there are usually health risks involved, such as if you consume too much of it. With that in mind, here are the health risks you should be aware of when it comes to coffee and green tea.
Coffee Health Risks
If you’ve ever consumed too much coffee, such as when pulling an all-nighter, you’ll know that it can have adverse side effects, such as making you feel jittery. But coffee also has health risks, such as the following:
- Cardiovascular disease. There has been some research into the link between coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease, as Health Harvard Publishing explains. However, you’d have to consume it in greater quantities – more than four cups per day – in order to put yourself at risk. Part of the reason why coffee can be bad for your heart is because of how it can lead to fast or irregular heart rhythms and boost your blood pressure.
- Disrupted sleep. Coffee can keep you awake and make you jittery, which can negatively affect your sleep quality. Chronic sleep deprivation, in turn, can lead to other health problems, such as depression, diabetes, lower immunity, and more.
- Anxiety. Since it makes you feel anxious and it can lead to heart palpitations, the caffeine in coffee can worsen panic attacks. So, if you already have an anxiety disorder or you’re sensitive to the effects of caffeine, you should stay away from coffee.
- Withdrawal symptoms. Although this isn’t a health condition, it can lead to short-term problems. When you stop consuming caffeine, it’s common to experience withdrawal symptoms in the form of brain fog, headaches, tiredness, and irritability, and these can get in the way of your life. They tend to last for a few days.
- Pregnancy problems. Pregnant women who consume coffee have been found to experience problems. Research via Medical News Today has found a link between consuming a lot of coffee and low birth weight, preterm births, and even pregnancy loss.
Green Tea Health Risks
What about green tea? Is it safer than coffee?
Let’s take a look at some of its potential risks.
- Increased stomach acid. Since green tea contains tannins, these can boost how much acid is in your stomach, which in turn can lead to constipation, nausea, and acid reflux. If you drink too much green tea, you could also experience symptoms such as diarrhea.
- Headaches. Since it contains caffeine, green tea can lead to effects related to caffeine, like headaches.
- Sleep problems. While green tea contains a chemical known as l-theanine that is said to promote feelings of calm, what’s interesting about it is that this same chemical can make you feel more alert. This is great when you’re doing a work presentation but not so great when you want to sleep.
- Anaemia. Although green tea is rich in antioxidants, some of these actually inhibit the body’s absorption of iron, which can lead to health conditions such as anaemia. One study (via Clinical Case Reports) found that green tea caused anaemia in a person who consumed six cups of green tea daily for seven years. The culprit? Tannins! These get in the way of how your body absorbs iron, so it’s a good idea to avoid drinking tea immediately after consuming a meal rich in iron.
- Pregnancy problems. Green tea is associated with pregnancy risks. This is as a result of its caffeine content as well as tannins and catechins. You can drink green tea when pregnant, but just make sure you stick to not having more than two cups daily, or 200mg per day, as Healthline reports, to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
How much caffeine is safe to consume every day?
A healthy adult can safely consume up to 400mg of caffeine every day, but bear in mind that caffeine is present in other foods and drinks, not just green tea and coffee!
What other foods and beverages contain caffeine?
Caffeine is found in various products, such as sodas, energy drinks, cocoa, chocolate, energy bars, slimming products, as well as non-prescription medicine such as cough syrups.
Both green tea and coffee are healthy and popular beverages that have many health benefits and taste great.
But which one you choose will depend on various factors. In this article we’ve looked at some pros and cons of green tea and coffee to help you choose the best beverage to enjoy.
Since both coffee and green tea contain caffeine, it’s always worth enjoying them in moderation!
Last Updated on May 15, 2021