Green Tea vs. Coffee Smackdown
Now I love a nice, warm, comforting cup of coffee as much as most people (no more than 1 cup a day for me though – 2 tops – or I start to see unattractive effects). The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include: protecting against Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Liver Disease, Liver Cancer and promoting a healthy heart. However, and this is a big however, like anything, if you do it to excess, these health benefits become quickly cancelled out and you will start to see unwanted side effects. Have you become over reliant on coffee to ‘get through the day’? You might want to consider swapping out some of your coffees for green tea? Never tried it? You’re missing out on all of these benefits…
1) Green Tea can help you shed some unwanted pounds… (not money)
Research indicates that green tea is a great aid in helping people who want to lose weight. It kick starts and speeds up your metabolism and is virtually calorie free. AND… it burns fat.
2) It fortifies your bones…
1 in 2 women aged over 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point. Regular consumption of green tea increases bone mineral density. (We build most bone mass in our 20’s and 30’s).
3) It helps you live longer…
Becoming a daily drinker of green tea helps extend your lifespan. Researchers found a connection between regularly drinking green tea and a reduction in risk of death from all causes.
4) It helps you duck dentures… (they can fly quite low sometimes)
Green tea helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. Drinking more than one cup of green tea per day prevents gum disease and tooth loss. It can also prevent bad breath by killing oral bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath.
5) It can help you free yourself from free radicals… (not the 90’s band)
Green Tea is king of the antioxidants – substances that help guard cells against the detrimental effects of free radicals. It has by far the most cancer-fighting antioxidants (called polyphenols). It also contains EGCG which inhibits cancer cell growth.
6) It can boost your brain… (and so I drink rather a lot of it)
Green Tea can help improve memory and cognition. The polyphenols widen blood vessels, speeding the supply of blood to the brain. Green Tea drinkers experience an increase in the activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with working memory, which you need for problem solving and focus. It helps prevent neurotransmitters involved in brain functioning from degrading. It also inhibits senile plaques from depositing in the brain, which impairs cognition. A recent study showed that 96% of green tea drinkers showed no signs of Alzheimers, whilst 88% of non-green tea drinkers did show signs.
7) It lowers your blood pressure…
Green Tea can help lower your blood pressure by tackling an enzyme which triggers hypertension. Coffee can raise blood pressure.
8) It protects against diabetes…
Green tea can help protect against diabetes, as it contains polyphenols which inhibit starch and so it can help lower blood sugar levels.
9) It prevents arthritis…
Green Tea can help prevent arthritis, working in much the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs.
10) It boosts immunity…
Green Tea can help prevent food poisoning as it can kill harmful bacteria. It also boosts immunity to the flu.
I just love a comparison…
Take Out Coffee (Flat White, Latte, Cappucino):
Price: £2.40 – £3.10 for one
Saturated Fat: 6.1 – 15.2 grams
Sugar: 13.6 – 20.1 grams
Salt: 300 – 500 mg
Caffeine: 200 mg
Price: starting at £0.75 for 20 bags
Saturated Fat: NIL
Drinking Too Much Coffee – Drawbacks
1) Risk of caffeine addiction
2) Interferes with sleep/increases insomnia (tired but ‘wired’)
3) Restlessness and nervousness
5) Abnormal heart rhythms/breathing rate
6) Raises blood pressure
7) Increases anxiety/jitters
8) Stomach upset (acidic) – don’t drink on an empty stomach first thing
9) Nausea and headaches
10) Negatively affects these areas of your digestive system:
a) It alters your HCI levels (Hydrochloric Acid – it’s in our gastric acid. Too much/not enough and your digestion suffers)
b) It exacerbates ulcers, IBS, acid issues
c) It can cause heartburn
d) It is a laxative – not caffeine – just coffee. Partially digested food is moved out of the digestive system before you have absorbed the nutrients from it
e) It blocks mineral absorption, especially the important mineral iron
f) It is carcinogenic (this doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee causes cancer, but there are a lot of carcinogens in there)
g) It makes you feel stressed and tense because it puts your whole body into ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode, affecting many processes in the body, including your digestion.
Takeaways (not coffee)…
So should we drink coffee? It depends. If you are somebody who is extremely sensitive to caffeine for whatever reason (like me) then you may want to eliminate it altogether as symptoms vs the short term pleasure just aren’t worth it. If you are regularly downing coffees throughout the day to keep you going, you may not notice any effects for years, but slowly your excessive coffee consumption can be quietly causing many health issues and before you know it you can be suffering from various symptoms. Remember, coffee stimulates your adrenals – exhaust them and you’ll know about it.
The best thing to do is to be honest with yourself. Yes, you love drinking coffee and that initial buzz you get when you start to drink it feels great. This is when your adrenal gland is being stimulated, hence the ‘high’, however, when this starts wearing off, really pay attention to what is happening in your body. Is your heart rate quicker? Do you get palpitiations if you drink too many? Is your vision slightly blurred/dark spots in front of eyes? Do you feel slightly nauseaous? Does your stomach feel a bit acidic/crampy/achy? These are common symptoms that you are sensitive to coffee or drink too much.
How do you feel an hour later when that buzz has worn off? Exhausted, grouchy, sleepy. Feel like you need another coffee? There you go. This is the coffee trap many of us fall into. We drink it to feel energised, yet we end up ultimately feeling far less energised than before we had it. This creates dependency on coffee and is the reason why many people say “I need one in the morning, or I just can’t function..” etc. However, if they cut down, they would need less of it. If they eliminated it all together, after a few days/a week, their energy would be even higher than before they drank the coffee.
If you feel you are not sensitive to coffee, it is advisable not to drink more than 2-3 cups a day. Also, if coffee is interfering with your sleep, be mindful of what time have your last coffee. For me, although I usually tend to drink coffee in the morning, this is about 4pm – any later than that, I am unable to sleep for hours, leaving me feeling exhausted in the morning. For some people, it is much earlier. So overall then, the message is to do what is best for you. Reduce or eliminate coffee if you need to, otherwise no more than 3 cups a day. And… do me one small favour… try green tea. x