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Ask a Dietitian: Coffee vs Tea

by Jennifer Southard, MS, RD/LD

Q: What are the health benefits of tea vs. coffee?

A: Tea: Some research suggests that green and black teas have ten times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Tea has been hypothesized to modify the metabolism to detoxify harmful chemicals. Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea all come from the same plant, but are processed differently. Teas are rich in polyphenols, thearubigins, epicatechins, catchins, and flavonoids, which assist in detoxifying free radicals to prevent DNA damage. Some research suggests that people who drink two cups or more of tea per day, have less heart disease, stroke, lower total cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Coffee: Coffee also contains many antioxidants. Drinking coffee in moderation, about two cups per day, may reduce the risk of heart failure, stroke, type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and certain types of cancer. However, some research suggests that drinking more than five cups of coffee each day, may decrease these health benefits and actually cause more harm than good. Magnesium and chromium are also found in coffee with help the body to use insulin to better regular blood sugar. Coffee and tea contain many antioxidants and possible health benefits.

It is important to note that one cup of tea contains about 47 mg of caffeine depending on the strength; where as, one cup of coffee contains about 138 mg of caffeine.

For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.

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Norman Regional Health System

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