Column: Hello, is it Tea You’re Looking For?


Coffee or tea?

As historical as the fight between cats and mice, this internal debate is fought daily by drowsy commuters and students alike. This question often results in a more-or-less permanent siding with one of the two teams.

Those who love tea are fiercely protective of their morning brew. Yet given the prevalence of commercialized caffeine consumption (looking at you, Starbucks) and our nation’s own somewhat… watery history with the beverage (anyone in Boston up for a tea party?), it’s easy to see why a “cup of joe” has become the norm. Even my roommate, with whom I am cohabitable in every other aspect, brought her own mini coffee pot to make sure she starts each day off with a caffeine kick. It sits very prettily alongside my electric tea kettle. I often ask if she wants me to steep her a cup, to no avail; she in turn offers me coffee, to which I politely decline.

It’s pretty clear that coffee drinkers like their coffee and tea drinkers like their tea. However, the benefits of tea go far beyond just the taste. Tea has been touted as “liquid wisdom” since its discovery, and extensive research has figured out why.

For all you coffee acolytes, here are a few key reasons to reconsider tea:
• Green tea is loaded with catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that could help prevent cancer.
• Tea may help prevent you from developing type 1 diabetes.
• Drinking three to four cups of tea a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack.
• The caffeine in tea takes longer to affect the body, so you can feel awake without getting jittery or worrying about a crash later on.
• Black tea drinkers were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
• Tea contains fluoride, which if good for your teeth.
• Tea is a zero calorie drink.
• Although tea does contain caffeine, this drink is actually hydrating.
• Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity, meaning it helps destroy free radicals that can damage your body’s DNA and cause wrinkles.
• Drinking green tea daily could lead to about an inch off your waistline in 12 weeks, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
• Polyphenols in green tea may help prevent degenerative brain disease.

Although it won’t make you invincible, tea’s benefits far outweigh the nonexistent drawbacks. Be careful, though; bottled or pre-made tea drinks often contain an excess of sugar and very little real tea. Remember, I’m not asking you to cut coffee from your diet completely–coffee has its own health benefits, as well! But the next time you have to make your momentous morning decision, keep these facts in mind. You just might opt to skip the java.




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