Tea and coffee drinkers rejoice. At Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains the benefits of the world’s favorite caffeinated beverages. He writes:
Just as you can make or break your health via the foods you choose at each meal, you can support or sabotage your well-being one beverage choice at a time. At one end of the spectrum would be soda — one of the absolute worst choices to drink. At the other, pure water — arguably the best for quenching your thirst and supporting optimal health.
For those times when you’re looking for something to savor and sip, an excellent alternative is coffee or tea, both of which have earned a solid spot among healthy beverages, with some caveats, however.
After water, coffee and tea are the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide, and they’re also top sources of both caffeine and antioxidant polyphenols for Americans. Tea, particularly green tea, has been linked with a reduced risk of stroke, diabetes and depression, and improved blood pressure, abdominal obesity and glucose levels, while coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of premature death and cardiovascular death, for starters.1
“Coffee is a complex beverage containing hundreds of biologically active compounds,” researchers wrote in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,2 and this is why it, and tea, have such far-reaching health potential. From your heart to your vision to your brain, there are many reasons to enjoy a cup (or a few) of coffee or tea daily — organic, preferred.
Health Benefits of Coffee From Your Heart to Your Brain
Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 found that compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers had a 7% lower risk of heart failure and an 8% lower risk of stroke for each additional cup of coffee consumed per week.3 Separate research linked coffee consumption to a lowered risk of heart disease, cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and diabetes.4
In the latter study, the largest risk reduction came from drinking three to four cups daily, but they suggested drinking more would likely benefit health, not harm it.
As for your brain health, increased coffee (and tea) consumption was linked to a lower risk of glioma brain tumor, such that people in the top category of coffee consumption were 91% less likely to have glioma compared with those in the bottom category.5
It may help your brain function as well, with research showing that drinking one to two cups of coffee daily may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, cognitive decline and cognitive impairment compared to drinking less than one cup.6
Drinking coffee may even enhance long-term memory consolidation7 and, if you drink the caffeinated variety, improve attention and alertness while decreasing your risk of depression.8 Caffeine can be a double-edged sword, with excess consumption causing adverse effects, and everyone’s tolerance to caffeine is unique.
However, most people naturally adjust their coffee consumption to avoid the jittery feeling that comes from too much caffeine. Researchers wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine:9
“At low to moderate doses, caffeine has well-known psychostimulant effects such as improved psychomotor performance, increased vigilance, elevated arousal (lesser somnolence and greater activation), and increased sensations of well-being and energy.
The known effects of caffeine are dose-dependent, but typically biphasic, i.e. low doses are perceived as pleasant and stimulating whereas a reverse effect is observed with higher doses. Most individuals seem to adapt their caffeine consumption to their own tolerance, so that the habitual is within the range between reinforcing and aversive effects.”
Tea Offers Many Health Benefits, Too
Many of the health benefits offered for coffee consumption can also be gained by drinking tea, so a case can be made for adding either (or both) to your daily diet. For instance, drinking green tea is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes, as well as mortality due to heart disease. Research also shows holistic benefits to green tea consumption, including lower blood pressure, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.10
In terms of heart health, green tea improves both blood flow and the ability of your arteries to relax, with research suggesting a few cups of green tea each day may help prevent heart disease.11 One of green tea’s claims to fame is the catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
Studies show EGCG can be helpful for the prevention of arteriosclerosis, cerebral thrombus, heart attack and stroke — in part due to its ability to relax your arteries and improve blood flow.12 In addition, tea may also benefit:
•Type 2 diabetes — One study found people who consume six or more cups of green tea daily had a 33% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who consumed less than one cup per week.13
•Weight loss — There is some evidence that long-term consumption of green tea catechins is beneficial for burning fat and may work with other chemicals to increase levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis.
•Bone health — Green tea polyphenols combined with a form of vitamin D called alfacalcidol could boost bone structure and strength, according to a study in mice. The mixture may reverse damage to bones caused by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced chronic inflammation, which could in turn reduce the risk of osteoporosis.14
•Vision health — Catechins in green tea could help protect you against glaucoma and other eye diseases, as research found that the compounds travel from your digestive system into the tissues of your eyes. During the study, the catechins found in green tea were absorbed into various parts of the eyes anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours after rats were given tea.15
•Cancer — Green tea components have been shown to downregulate the expression of proteins involved in inflammation, cell signalization, cell motility and angiogenesis, while an association between green tea intake and decreased risk of cancers (including ovarian and breast16) has been reported.17
Previous research has shown that green tea polyphenols act on molecular pathways to shut down the production and spread of tumor cells.18 They also discourage the growth of the blood vessels that feed the tumors. EGCG even acts as an antiangiogenic and antitumor agent, and helps modulate tumor cell response to chemotherapy.19
Read more here.
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