Tea or Coffee: which is best for you?
22nd August 2012
We all like a good brew in the morning, whether it be a good old fashioned cup of tea or a latte from our favourite coffee shop on the way into work. In fact in Britain we spend over £2 billion a year on coffee, and the coffee shop industry is one of the fastest growing industries, and that’s despite the harsh financial times we live in. As regards tea according to the UK Tea Council we drink 60.2 billion cups a year. Whilst which one we drink is a matter of preference, is it worth considering the pros and cons of tea and coffee? Well considering we drink so much of them it would seem to be a good idea. Tea According to several studies tea has more health benefits than coffee. A ­recent one from Harvard University has ­discovered the immune cells of people who drink tea in the morning ­responded five times faster to germs than coffee drinkers. The scientists there think tea ­reduces stress levels, whereas other caffeinated drinks, like coffee, can raise them and over time can weaken your immune system. Another study ­published in the health journal ­Nutrition Bulletin discovered that ­regularly drinking tea can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It is also known that tea contributes to our daily fluid intake thus keeping us hydrated. However it is worth noting that whilst tea contains only half the caffeine content of coffee, it is recommended that we drink no more than five cups a day. Coffee Coffee contains double the caffeine found in tea and as we have reported in earlier articles, that can have positive or negative affects on our health depending on how much we drink. Interestingly coffee contains roughly the same amount of calories as tea (a tea or coffee with milk contains about 8 calories). The problem with coffee is the type of coffee we drink these days. As we mentioned at the beginning the meteoric rise of popular coffee shops such as Neros, Costa and Starbucks has led to us drinking a whole new kind of coffee, that brings with it a whole new set of health risks. Whilst at home we would drink maybe a black coffee with a small amount of milk added to it, the coffees we buy at coffee shops are usually milk based, are larger, and many of us add sugary syrups to them and add whipped cream to the top of them. Here is a list of the calorie content of the teas and coffee we drink. Calories Black tea with milk: 8 calories Black coffee: 2 calories Black coffee with milk: 8 calories Starbucks medium sized latte: 223 calories Costa medium sized latte: 206 calories Starbucks medium sized (skinny) latte: 131 calories Costa medium sized (skinny) latte: 115 calories Whipped cream topping: 120 calories One vanilla shot: 70 calories Starbucks Strawberries & Cream Frappucino: 459 calories Nero’s Double Chocolate Frappe: 483 calories Clearly these coffees contain far more calories than a coffee we would drink at home, however it must also be noted that the skinny versions do contain just under half the calories. Another beverage that has started to grow in popularity is herbal or fruit teas which on average contain only 2 calories. According to Nutritionist and author of Health Eating Dr Carina Norris: “herbal teas are a fantastic addition to your diet, not only are they very low in calories they can also help improve your digestion, clear up your skin and help you sleep.” Like many thing in life the advice from health professionals is to have such drinks in moderation. Dr Norris summed this up by saying: “a latte can contain between 200 and 300 calories, if you have two a day, that’s the equivalent of a full meal. Treat these drinks as you would a slice of cake, have them occasionally but don’t make a habit of them every day.”