A boost of caffeine before a workout is a popular way to rev up your metabolism and burn off some extra calories says WebMD.com. However; not all caffeine sources are equal; the 2 most popular sources are green tea and coffee. Clients often ask me, “Which is better, coffee or green tea?” I vote for green tea and here’s why:
As mentioned, both drinks have caffeine but Green Tea also acts specifically to boost your body’s metabolism of fat. Green tea’s polyphenols can counter excess triglycerides in your system, which when not used get converted to fat. The polyphenols function to activate a certain enzyme in the body that will dissolve the excess triglycerides. It is also rumored to keep bones strong, something in which coffee has the opposite effect. And the benefits don’t end there! Green tea also can relax your arteries, lower blood pressure and keep your heart strong. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (June 2004) found that those who consumed tea regularly for at least one year had a 46% lower risk of developing high blood pressure, from drinking as little as 1-2 cups per day. Enjoying a cup of green tea in the morning sounds a lot more enjoyable then having to remember to take blood pressure medication every day, especially with their long list of side effects and drug interactions. Antioxidants in green tea heal at the deepest cellular level, allowing the benefits to manifest throughout the body.
The University of Tokyo had researchers conduct a study on bones and green tea consumption and concluded that green tea may actually significantly increase the bone mineral density! Even decaf coffee has been linked in studies to osteoporosis when consumed in large quantities. I was reading more research that points to the compound egigallocatechin gallate (EGCG for short because even I can’t pronounce that!) as the main weapon that Green Tea carries to fight against carcinogens in our bodies. The research suggests that it may actually promote a myriad of cancer-protecting actions in the body! The American Medical Association reports that people who drank 4-5 cups of green tea per day had a lower mortality rate from cardiovascular disease than those who abstained from the beverage. Four to five cups may seems like a lot but say you have two in the morning with breakfast and your morning commute, another as a mid-afternoon pick me up and finally one after dinner. That’s four cups right there! Be aware that green tea’s caffeine content may interfere with sleep patterns if consumed after 4 p.m., so be sure to pick up a box of decaf!
Green Tea’s other health claims include: suppressing appetite, increasing oral hygiene, boosting the immune system, prevention of rheumatoid arthritis, regulating diabetes and even improving skin related problems such as acne. It seems almost like a miracle plant with all these healing properties. Apparently Green Tea, unlike it’s cousins Black and Earl Grey, is left unfermented and by doing so it is able to retain the active healthy properties! A reminder on how much processing can affect the foods we eat. So overall, whether you decide to drink coffee or tea for your morning wake up, do so in moderation. The majority of liquid you consume should come from pure filtered water. Be sure to drink at least half your weight in ounces a day. That means if you weight 140 lbs you should be drinking at least 70 ounces of water per day, excluding the water you use to make your tea or coffee =)