I decided to experiment with drinking tea in the morning rather than a cup of coffee. After drinking tea for three days straight, and then going back to coffee, the difference in how I felt was so obvious!

Tea = Gentle

Coffee = Jitters

It got me thinking. I already get pretty stressed and riled up at work, so why would I make it worse by starting my day with a big cup of jitters? Since the majority of us are probably pretty hooked on our morning cup of joe, I thought it would be helpful to share some information about both coffee and tea.

Quick History (because they are both fun stories)

Tea was discovered by the ancient Chinese ruler Shen Nong, over 5,000 years ago, when a leaf landed in his boiling water. He drank the brown liquid and found it refreshing. Coffee was discovered much later and is believed to have been first cultivated in Arabia. In fact, it is believed that coffee beans were used to make tea until someone dropped a bean into the fire by accident, and voila, coffee was born!

Both contain caffeine, but how much?

Tea contains approximately 55 milligrams of caffeine per cup, and coffee contains about 125 – 185 milligrams per cup. As far as teas go, green teas contain the least amount caffeine, followed by white tea, and black and oolong have more. The effect of caffeine in tea usually takes longer to enter the blood stream than coffee, so it’s gentler on our bodies. Coffee, on the other hand, hits our system much faster, which causes that jolt in us that we’ve come to know and love for its ability to make us feel more alert.

What about decaf?

A lot of people are under the impression that they need to stay away from caffeine altogether. I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case! In fact, next time you reach for decaffeinated tea, consider this. Studies conducted from the US Department of Agriculture found that decaffeinated green tea contains less than a third of the catechins in regular tea. Catechins are the main antioxidants that make green tea so good for us!

Coffee and your health

On a positive note, the caffeine in coffee can help relieve asthma by helping relax the airways in the lungs. Other than that, it’s just a commodity that we like to enjoy, for better or for worse! Something to consider if you’re like me and enjoy french press coffee. MSNBC recently shared a study that showed that unfiltered coffee has a negative effect on cholesterol. However, to keep things into perspective, they did explain that “Unfiltered coffee has much less effect on your heart disease risk than smoking, high blood pressure, or being overweight.” Phew! I’m a big believer that most things in moderation are okay, but if you are interested or concerned, check out the full MSNBC article on coffee and cholesterol here.

Tea and your health

Studies show that tea helps slow the growth of cancer cells, helps with digestion, and has antioxidants that help keep our hearts healthy. It also helps lower our bad cholesterol and promotes weight loss.

Whatever beverage you choose to start your day with, just remember to pay attention to how your body reacts to it.  Although we’ve become accustomed to the coffee jitters, perhaps you’ll consider enjoying the effects of caffeine the gentler way with tea.