Coffee and Tea Basics
According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, 70% of American adults drink coffee, and 62% of them drink coffee every day. Observational studies have shown that the polyphenols and antioxidant compounds in coffee beans have health benefits, including reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. However, for these reasons, most of us probably don't drink it.
Coffee lovers enjoy the energy boost, improved clarity and focus that caffeine brings, and savor its aroma and rich, rich flavor. Still, not everyone likes caffeine: caffeine can make some people jittery, and the caffeine and acidity can irritate sensitive stomachs.
Coffee's close relative, tea, is the world's second most popular beverage after water, enjoyed by one-third of Americans. Most types of tea contain about half the caffeine of coffee and are less acidic. Tea contains health-promoting antioxidant compounds such as flavanols.
Caffeine comparison: 8 ounces of brewed coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine; instant coffee, about 60 mg; black tea, about 47 mg; and green tea, about 28 mg.
What you need to know about yerba mate
Yerba mate (or yerba mate , Brazilian tea ) is a herbal tea from the Ilex paraguariensis tree in South America. It has an earthy flavor and is more bitter than yerba mate. Other teas. It contains antioxidant polyphenols, such as chlorogenic acid, and as much caffeine as coffee or more (80 to 175 mg per cup). Preliminary research suggests it may promote weight loss and lower blood cholesterol, but research is inconclusive. Users report less fatigue and better concentration (possibly due to its caffeine content), but no jitters.
Disadvantages: Some processing methods of yerba mate (such as drying the leaves with smoke) may introduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - the same carcinogens found in grilled meats. Some studies suggest that drinking large amounts of yerba mate over time can increase the risk of certain cancers, including head and neck, stomach, bladder and lung cancers. However, unsmoked yerba mate (processed by air-drying) may be safer.
Knowledge about yaupon tea
Like yerba mate, yaupon is a herbal tea. Originating in the United States, it has a mellow, grassy flavor similar to green tea. It contains chlorogenic acid and antioxidants, which are said to reduce inflammation and boost energy. This tea contains 60 milligrams of caffeine per cup and also provides theobromine, a compound structurally similar to the caffeine in cocoa beans and many teas. Theobromine increases blood flow and may increase energy and alertness, but this boost is slower to begin and lasts longer than caffeine, which provides a quick but short-lived boost.
Disadvantages: The combination of theobromine and caffeine may increase heart rate and interfere with sleep, especially if you drink large amounts of yaupon or drink it before bed.
What you need to know about matcha
Matcha and green tea come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis . However, unlike green tea, matcha is grown in the shade, which protects it from sunlight and oxidation and gives it its bright green color and higher polyphenol content. Grind whole tea leaves and matcha stems into a fine powder and stir with hot water or milk. Matcha contains about 40 to 175 milligrams of caffeine per cup and contains the same antioxidant polyphenols as green tea, specifically theanine and catechins. However, since the whole leaf is used to make matcha, it can be more concentrated than standard green tea.
Cons: While green tea contains low to moderate amounts of caffeine, matcha has very high levels of caffeine, even more than coffee.
What you need to know about chicory coffee
Chicory is the root of the Chicorium Intybus plant, which is dried, roasted and ground to produce the drink. Chicory contains prebiotic fibers called inulin, which caramelizes during the roasting process, giving the drink a dark brown color with a nutty flavor that's sweeter and less bitter than traditional coffee. It tastes similar to regular coffee but doesn't provide the same energy boost because it doesn't contain caffeine. (Some people mix chicory coffee with brewed coffee to make a decaffeinated drink.) Animal studies show that chicory root has anti-inflammatory properties. Inulin may benefit the gut microbiome and gut health, but the small amounts in chicory coffee are unlikely to provide such benefits.
Cons: The chicory plant is in the same family as ragweed, so chicory coffee may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to ragweed pollen.
Coffee alternative health drinks may contain similar plant compounds to those found in regular coffee and green or black tea. Choose them if you like the taste. Just don't assume they're healthier, as there's no strong evidence to support claims about weight loss, heart health or cancer prevention.
These drinks are best consumed plain or with just a splash of lemon, honey, unsweetened milk or plant-based milk. Processing and added ingredients may negate any health-promoting effects of natural plant compounds. For example, some studies show that adding protein and fat to tea through milk or creamer reduces antioxidant properties and may cause the loss of active flavonoids. Even if the natural compounds remain intact, adding sugar, half-and-half, syrup, or whipped cream to a drink can turn it into a dessert, negating any potential health benefits.