Green Tea vs Coffee – Caffeine content and health benefits

In this article I am gonna try to end the dispute over which is better, green tea vs coffee. They have different amounts of caffeine, and they both have similar as well as different effects on health.

To put it short, the winner is..

Both.A picture of Tea Vs CoffeeThat’s right, both green tea and coffee have some great health benefits, and they are both safe to consume although it is usually recommended to limit coffee to 3-4 cups a day because of the high amounts of caffeine. Pregnant women might want to cut back quite a bit though.

Caffeine in tea vs coffee

Like I wrote in my post about green tea and caffeine content, green tea does contain caffeine but it’s much less than in coffee.

A cup of coffee might contain about 100-150mg of caffeine, even less or even more, depending on the type.

A cup of green tea contains about 25mg of caffeine, but green tea also contains other related stimulant substances called Theobromine and Theophylline. It also contains an amino acid called L-Theanine which has a slightly calming effect.

White tea contains less caffeine than green tea and black tea contains more. Black tea might actually contain as much as a small cup of coffee. It’s difficult to give out specific numbers because they vary with type and amount.

Coffee vs Tea and health effects

Both green tea and coffee do have various health benefits. I’ve written a detailed article on coffee and health before, but here I’m going to compare this with green tea.

There is some evidence from Japan that green tea can reduce chances of death from all causes, as well as from heart disease. The results were particularly evident for stroke (1).

Both green tea and coffee seem to help against developing type 2 Diabetes, although the case seems stronger for coffee (2).

There is really conflicting evidence about green tea being protective against cancer (3). Coffee may reduce chances of liver cancer (4) and colorectal cancer (5).

Green tea may slow cognitive decline in the elderly at smaller doses while coffee only shows the same effect if drinking large amounts of it.

Coffee and total caffeine intake seems to have a massive effect on preventing Parkinson’s in men (6).

Green tea seems to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol (7).

Metabolic rate and dental health

It is common knowledge that green tea can boost metabolism, specifically the burning of fat, and may therefore assist in weight loss (8). The effect is kind of small, but it still might be an important equipment in your fat loss arsenal.

Green tea might help with killing bacteria and could therefore help improve breath and dental health. Coffee gives people that “coffee-breath” which some people find quite unpleasant.

These were just the main points that have come up during my research of tea vs coffee but this matter has been studied EXTENSIVELY. If you have the time and interest, you can find a ton more info by going to Google Scholar and typing in phrases like “coffee”, “tea”, “green tea”, “green tea coffee”, etc.)

Conclusion

Both green tea and coffee contain caffeine, as well as high amounts of antioxidants and some minerals.

I’m not sure if the health benefits are due to the antioxidant effect or because of a “hormesis” effect, but the polyphenols in coffee and tea are foreign substances to the body and might cause an increase in the body’s defense mechanisms.

I don’t know if it is the antioxidant effect, the minerals, the hormesis effect or a little bit of everything but it seems clear that both green tea and coffee do have health benefits in people.

If you prefer tea, then you should continue drinking it. If you prefer coffee, then great. If you want to experience the best of both worlds then it might be best to drink a little bit of both.


 

10 Comments

  1. I think coffee is ok for you if you have a pretty healthy diet. Standard american diet with coffee just stresses your adrenals. Also, organic of both is always the best – regular green tea has lots of fluoride, regular coffee is sprayed with chemicals. You might say that the antioxidants counteract the effects of chemicals, but who knows to what extent?

  2. Hey Marina, thanks for commenting.

    I agree, organic would probably be best. Personally I only drink organic green tea and have a coffee machine that grinds my coffee beans on the spot.

    The studies I looked at don’t consider diet or if the coffee/tea is organic or not and they still possess those health benefits.

  3. Really interesting.
    I wonder if other teas like black are the same?

    I drink coffee all the time. AT THIS POINT it’s not something I’m going to worry about.

  4. Hey Kara, thanks for commenting.

    Black tea is more processed than green, but contains more caffeine. White tea is less processed than green tea but has less caffeine.

    I can imagine them all having some of the same health benefits, but it’s hard to tell for sure because the one studied the most is green tea.

    After doing my research on green tea and coffee I’ve decided I’m gonna have both. I drink some coffee in the morning and soon after lunch, then green tea for the rest of the day.

  5. Yu, YuFit says:

    Thank you for such a thorough comparison!

    Personally, I love tea because to me it’s so much easier to drink it without added sugar and cream. I drink tea on a regular basis, but I treat myself to a french press sometimes.. works well for me!

  6. Hi!I’m a strict vegetarian with a spastic colon,I have to make sure that I eat something every few hours or my stomach hurts a lot,I usually eat a lot so that I don’t eat many times,I’ve gained 12 kgs because of this,I also have been on medication for the spastic colon but it works for a while but as soon as I stop the medication the pain returns,will green tea help me?

  7. Eddie Magennis says:

    Hey- Sounds like you are a true caffeine addict looking for ways to feed your addiciton- Have you ever tried giving up caffeine?

  8. Nick Wisearse says:

    If your giving up on caffeine was successful, you would only have had to do it once.

  9. I highly doubt that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day would decrease the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Most people consume an awful lot of sugar in their coffee. Last time I checked, that isn’t the way to avoid becoming ill.

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