Though many folks swear that tea is good for health, there are still those who claim that coffee isn’t. Yet, medical research shows that coffee, as well as tea, does have its health benefits. What both beverages share is caffeine, a powerful stimulant. Besides that, there are other ingredients that support the health of both the body and the mind.
The health benefits of coffee are surprising and are backed up by several studies. For example, in 15 studies it was shown that people who drink four cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who do not drink coffee. This protection is enhanced by 7 percentage points with every extra cup of coffee the person drinks. It is not affected by the person’s age, sex or where they live.
• People who are 65 or older and have a high level of caffeine in their system stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by two to four years.
• The antioxidants provided by coffee are more readily absorbed into the body than the antioxidants provided by fruits and vegetables, which can be substantial. Indeed, coffee is able to supply antioxidants more efficiently than anything else a person eats or drinks. Antioxidants are chemicals that protect the body against attack by free radical oxygen molecules.
• Another study in 2012 showed that people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system, enjoyed an easing of their symptoms if they drank coffee.
• People who drink alcohol are 20 percent less likely to suffer from scarring, or cirrhosis of the liver if they drank at least a cup of coffee every day. This was a longitudinal study that followed people for 22 years. The people who participated in the study were also less likely to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease.
• Women who drank coffee had lower incidences of skin cancer than women who did not drink coffee.
• Athletes found that drinking coffee before a work-out improved their performance.
Studies have found that the very smell of brewing coffee eases the minds of people who are, rather ironically, suffering from sleep deprivation. People who drank four cups of coffee a day or more were happier than other people over all and had a lower suicide rate. Researchers found that these people had a 50 percent less chance of killing themselves than people who didn’t drink coffee. Medical researchers suspected that this is because coffee has mild anti-depressant qualities and stimulates the body to make neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline.
The chemicals that make the leaves of the camellia sinensis shrub as superbly health giving as they are are flavanols, alkaloids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, polyphenols and carbohydrates. These substances not only support health but give tea its aroma and flavor.
Much like coffee, tea is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants found in tea are flavanols, specifically epicatechins and catechins, with the most powerful being epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Like coffee, tea has more antioxidants than fruits or vegetables. This is especially true of green tea, for during the oxidation of black and oolong teas about 25 to 40 percent of the antioxidants are lost.
• Tea is good for people who become jittery after drinking too much caffeine, for it has less of the chemical than coffee.
• Some studies suggest that tea guards against both tooth and bone loss.
• Tea also lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Tea’s soothing effect on the mind is thought to be the result of theanine, a type of amino acid. It also gives many teas their earthy flavor.
So, despite the old wives tales, both coffee and tea have their health benefits and can be good for you!
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