Go ahead & have your coffee (or tea)

Coffee !! Most of us love it, need it, crave it. Just the smell is heavenly. The stats are in & according to the National Coffee Association 62% of American adults drink coffee every day. Coffee contains caffeine, vitamins and minerals, polyphenols, and other components that may provide health benefits. Polyphenols are antioxidants, which are chemical compounds that fight against free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and lead to disease and illness. Listed are some of the benefits of coffee and tea, in moderation of course.

1.Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The polyphenols in coffee and tea have been shown to reduce the threat of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Studies suggest regularly drinking coffee can decrease risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke (Ding et al., 2014). The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis concluded that, compared to non-drinkers, those who drank more than one cup of tea per day had a lower incidence of cardiovascular events (Miller, et al., 2016). Other research shows drinking at least three cups of either black or green tea per day can reduce a person’s risk of stroke by 21% (Arab et al., 2009).

2.Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Research shows the caffeine in coffee raises blood sugar in the short term, but the polyphenols may improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes over the long term (Bhupathiraju et al., 2013). Decaffeinated coffee may also have a beneficial effect on reducing type 2 diabetes, but the benefit appears to be less significant (Salazar-Martinez, et al., 2004). The antioxidants in tea may help your body process sugar in your blood (Mahmoud, et al., 2016).

3.Slow progression or reduce age-related neurological disorders. Some studies suggest caffeine can ease the early symptoms of Parkinson’s, while others show consuming coffee & tea might help protect against getting Parkinson’s in the first place. In a study looking at coffee consumption in men and women over a span of 22 years, those who consumed coffee had a significantly lower risk for developing the disease than non-drinkers (Saaksjarvi et al., 2008). Another long-term study of almost 30,000 adults found drinking three or more cups of tea per day was associated with a 69% reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (Hu et al., 2007). Furthermore, there is research showing green tea consumption (five cups versus one cup per day) was associated with a lower risk of a dementia (Tomata et al., 2016).

While there are similar health benefits to drinking tea and coffee, there are differences as well. For instance, there is promising research suggesting caffeinated coffee may prevent the formation of gallstones in both men & women (Leitzmann et al., 1999) For tea drinkers, researchers found that across a large number of studies there was a significant increase in bone mineral density for tea drinkers compared to non-drinkers (Guo et al., 2017), as well as a lower risk of osteoporosis in tea drinkers than non tea drinkers (Sun et al., 2017).

Potential Side Effects of Consuming Coffee and Tea

There can be a few side effect based on their caffeine content. Caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia and an irregular heartbeat. In addition, coffee (both regular and decaf) can irritate the digestive tract, bladder and prostate. The side effects of high caffeine consumption apply equally to coffee and tea.

Just a little extra tidbit: Plain black coffee and tea are naturally low in calories, approximately two calories per 8-ounce cup. However, once you start adding sugar, milk and other additions you are likely consuming between 400 and 600 calories.

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