Wellness Wednesday – 2/3/21
If there is one thing that everyone thinks that us New Englanders can’t live without, it’s our Dunkin’ iced coffee. In my experience growing up right here in New England, they’re not wrong. But I’ve also noticed that for many, drinking tea is just as much of a habit as drinking coffee is for others. Most people in my circle are “either or” meaning that they prefer one over the other. For example, while my mother drinks tea every morning, my stepfather drinks coffee, and neither opts for anything different.
So what is it about coffee and tea? Why has their popularity seemingly surpassed that of water? This week, we’re taking a look at articles that discuss coffee, tea, and the awesome health benefits of both. So settle in with a warm cup of … whatever you’d like.
THE GOOD IN A CUP O’ JOE
Whether you drink it hot or iced, drinking coffee daily provides a variety of health benefits that go beyond simply giving you energy. According to Healthline, coffee helps burn fat, contains vitamins B2, B3, B5, and potassium and helps fight depression. Moreover, drinking coffee regularly helps lower your risk for type two diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s and liver cancer.
For those of you, like myself, who want to live as long as they possibly can (I’m shooting for 125 years old) coffee is a great daily supplement. Numerous studies, such as the one described here, have found that drinking coffee is linked to a longer life. Italian scientists even found that drinking espresso, or “Italian-style coffee,” makes you less likely to die.
For those who are concerned about their caffeine intake, Thomas Merritt explores the science behind decaffeinating coffee in a fascinating article found here.
“All commercially grown coffee contains caffeine. To produce decaf, between 97 and 99.9 per cent of the caffeine is removed,” Merritt writes. “There are several ways to do this, but they all depend on the caffeine being dissolved out of the coffee beans before they are roasted. Natural solvents include CO2, coffee oil or water, but other chemicals are also used, including methyl acetate and ethylene chloride.”
Now, these health benefits are great, but it is important to note that there are many common additives that make coffee less healthy. Sugar packets, cream shots and caramel swirls may boost flavor, but should only be consumed in moderation. If you tend to load up morning coffee order with cream and sugar, fret not, for there are ways to make your coffee healthier that can be found here. One of the most surprising is the “coffee nap:”
“You probably think of coffee as a pick-me-up. But its effects don’t kick in for about 30 minutes. That means if you enjoy a cup of coffee just before taking a 20-30 minute nap, you may wake up feeling extra-energized.”
PINKY’S UP, IT’S TEA TIME
And now for my own personal preference, tea. What can be confusing about tea is that there are many different kinds of tea and tisanes (herbal teas which contain no actual tea), each with their own individual health benefits. There are herbal teas that relieve throat aches, teas that promote a “flat tummy,” teas that aid sleep and teas that give you an energy boost. For more details on the different types of tea and their specific benefits, check out this article here.
As far as the real stuff, studies have shown that drinking tea boosts your immune system, improves focus, promotes a good night’s sleep and helps prevent cardiovascular disease. According to an article from The Beet, drinking tea has been linked to burning fat, improving gut health and even reducing dental decay.
“Weight loss aside, tea comes with a myriad of other health benefits, stemming largely from natural plant compounds called flavonoids. … In a study from Advances in Nutrition, researchers found that with each cup of green or black tea you drink, you lower your risk of death from all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease.
According to an article from Today.com, green tea (my personal favorite) is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which are “bioactive compounds that can lessen oxidative stress, relieve inflammation, and provide other health benefits.” Without additives like honey, milk or sugar, loose leaf tea is extremely low in calories. Like coffee, teas that contain caffeine, such as green tea and matcha, can provide that extra energy boost to kick off your morning or revive you during the day. Unlike coffee, there are also a variety of teas that can be drank before bedtime.
So regardless of what you prefer, coffee and tea both provide immense health benefits that can be tailored to one’s specific health needs. Just be sure to go easy on the sugar the next time you’re in the Dunkin’ drive-thru.
This week, I’ve decided you have read enough. Here are interesting videos that provide coffee and tea recipe ideas that are sure to spice up your daily drink. Plus, you can skip the drive through and make these at home.
Coffee — Check out this video for five different refreshing recipes for iced coffee. Mint mocha and toasted coconut cream are at the top of my list.
Tea — For those looking for calming teas, check out this video for nine healthy calming herbal tea recipes. If you are looking for more of a boost from your daily tea, try one of these six tea latte recipes. Drink up!