Benefits of Coffee and Tea
Ever wonder what the proven benefits of coffee and tea are? It seems like every other month there is a headline proclaiming coffee to be good for your health or bad for your health and there is probably truth in both statements. With the cold winter months upon us, I am a sucker for a hot cup of coffee in the morning and warm mug of tea in the afternoon or evening. I do like to stay mindful of my caffeine intake because it affects my sleep if I have too much or drink it too late, so it is all about balance. This week we will dive into the benefits of coffee and tea and also some considerations to keep in mind when enjoying or adding these into your day.
Benefits of Coffee
This warm, aromatic beverage is enjoyed worldwide, and for good reason. It is delicious and it does have many health benefits. Coffee contains more than just caffeine, it has many polyphenols and antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits on a wide range of disease. Coffee has been found to have cardioprotective effects reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Coffee may help to regulate your blood sugar better and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Regular coffee consumption can protect against cancer, particularly colon cancer, likely due to the polyphenol antioxidant effects. In terms of brain health, coffee drinkers have been shown to have improved cognitive function and short term recall and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. With all of these benefits combined, it may improve overall longevity, in terms of both both healthspan and lifespan (more on Longevity HERE).
With so many benefits are there really any down sides? Well there can be. Of course, too much caffeine can make you feel jittery. It may also cause elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety and difficulty sleeping if consumed too close to bedtime. The half life of caffeine is about 5 hours so drinking it late in the afternoon may disrupt sleep. There are some individuals who are rapid metabolizers and can drink a cup of coffee after dinner and have no problems sleeping but conversely, there are some individuals who are slow metabolizers and it may take upwards of 9 hours to metabolize caffeine. You likely know which one you are. I am a slow metabolizer so my cut off for caffeine is generally noon. My husband on the other hand can drink a regular cup of coffee at 7pm and be asleep by 9. One other thing we want to avoid is relying on caffeine of any kind for energy to make it through the day. If you find yourself relying on your caffeine fix, there is probably something underlying your fatigue that you should get to the roof of first (book a free call to get started with Wild Rice Wellness today!
Tips: opt for organic, high quality beans so that you are not taking in added pesticides, herbicides and toxins daily with your cup of brew. My personal favorite The Daily RIse Organic Wilderness Blend – delicious coffee, also owned and roasted by some rad humans – my cousins Jeff and Beth Furton in Ogden, UT! Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners in your coffee. Instead add some extra antioxidant flavor like real vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom, or cocoa powder!
Benefits of Tea
I have become such a tea lover of the past few years. There are so many health benefits of tea and can be used for different conditions or symptoms to provide a wide array of benefits.
Green tea has the most scientific evidence surrounding its benefits. Green tea has more antioxidants than any other tea, The most notable antioxidant is a compound called Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Compared with other caffeinated beverages, green tea gives more of a calming energy boost or calming focus, thanks to one of its components, L-theanine. Green tea has many benefits including:
- Improved digestion and gut health
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Increased weight loss
- Reduction in cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s/dementia and improved memory
- Improved blood sugar regulation
- Reduction in overall cancer risk (including breast, bladder, colon, ovarian, prostate, skin and more)
- Reduced inflammation
Similar to coffee, too much of a good thing can be, not so good. Increased consumption of green tea can cause the same effects of too much caffeine in general: jitteriness, disrupted sleep, elevated heart rate and blood pressure and anxiety.
Beyond green tea, there are an abundance of herbal teas and herbal tea combinations that can be used for many different conditions or symptoms. Herbal teas are usually caffeine free (though not all of them) so they are a great option for mid-afternoon or evening sipping. Turmeric and ginger teas are anti-inflammatory and can help with digestion and pain. Ginger tea can also help with pain as well as nausea and acts as a promotility agent, helping to keep the digestive tract moving. Peppermint tea is also good for digestion and stomach upset. Chamomile, lavender and valerian root teas are great for an end of the night beverage to help with sleep. Chamomile tea has also been shown to support the immune system and have anti-anxiety effects. Some teas will even contain adaptogens. One of my favorite tea companies (local to Boulder) Organic India, has Tulsi also known as Holy Basil in all of their teas which is a calming adaptogen (more on Adaptogens HERE).
So next time you are reaching for something warm, consider the health benefits of coffee and tea and consider trying something you haven’t tried before!
If you are looking for a Functional Medicine Practitioner to work with or want to learn more about Wild Rice Wellness book a free 15 minute consultation below!