According to a number of studies, drinking coffee is associated with better health outcomes. For example, in a meta-analysis — a systematic review of published research studies — looking at the relationship between coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease risk, researchers found that “moderate coffee consumption (3–5 cups per day) was associated with lower CVD risk,” and heavy coffee consumption (6+ cups per day) had no effect on CVD risk.
In addition, several studies have concluded that increased coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cancer. Consuming coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated, has also been found to have an inverse association with type 2 diabetes — drinking more coffee is correlated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Sure, drinking coffee may bring to mind caffeine addictions and Monday mornings, but maybe it isn’t so bad after all.
On the other hand, tea is rich in natural antioxidants called flavonoids which can help fight cancer and heart disease. In addition, tea contains caffeine and theanine which help the brain be more alert.
There are also numerous studies showing associations between drinking tea and a variety of health benefits. A meta-analysis on the effect of green tea intake on risk of liver disease found that “there is a significant protective effect of green tea drinking on liver diseases,” which means green tea consumption is associated with a lowered risk of liver disease. In another study, drinking tea is correlated with a decreased risk of depression.
So which beverage is healthier for you? There doesn’t seem to be a strong scientific consensus for or against either. Scientific studies have suggested that both tea and coffee are associated with decreased risks of different diseases, and neither has been proven to cause illness.
Keep in mind that these studies only show association, not causation. This means that drinking coffee or tea will not prevent you from getting cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, or other diseases. The studies simply reveal that there is a relationship between drinking coffee and tea and lowered risk of certain health conditions.
At the end of the day, the health benefits of both beverages also depend on your habits. Go ahead and drink your preferred beverage. But be sure to do it in moderation, and keep your sugar, milk, and cream levels in check!