Black Coffee Vs. Black Tea: Which is Healthier?
Coffee and tea are two of the world’s most popular beverages — and with good reason, as these caffeinated drinks are both healthy and delicious. But which one packs more benefits? Let’s take a look.
Coffee and green, black, or white tea (not herbal) all have caffeine, with coffee boasting a bit more — sometimes up to twice as much. A typical 8-ounce cup of coffee may contain up to 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, while a single shot of espresso is about 75 mg. Conversely, a cup of black tea has between 45 and 50 mg of caffeine.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee is healthier, as caffeine can have both positive and negative effects on health. As a stimulant, caffeine can boost cognitive and physical performance in the short term. In the long term, moderate caffeine consumption is linked to a reduction in the risk of many chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease. However, drinking too much caffeine is ill-advised and can lead to irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia.
Tea and coffee are loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols, making them both a healthy beverage option. The primary antioxidants in black tea are theaflavins, thearubigins, and catechins, while coffee is rich in flavonoids and chlorogenic acid. These antioxidants help the body fight free radicals and oxidative stress, which are leading drivers of disease and aging.
Although we know that the caffeine in black coffee and tea provides an energy boost — with more coming from coffee — tea is also rich in L-theanine. L-theanine is both an amino acid and an antioxidant, providing a calm state of focus. Unlike caffeine, L-theanine doesn’t cause jitters or anxiety, leading to more relaxed energy.
The Bottom Line
Both black tea and black coffee are incredibly healthy beverages — especially when you do not add loads of cream and sugar to them. If you are sensitive to caffeine, tea may be a better option, as the L-theanine content can provide a calmer boost of energy. As far as the health benefits go, both tea and coffee are beneficial and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, so drink whichever you prefer!