People all over the world kickstart their mornings with a mug of coffee or a cup of black tea -- and it turns out that's a good thing. Both beverages are stocked with antioxidants that can reduce cholesterol, safeguard against depression, and even fight off diabetes. And caffeine -- the reason many people switch on their Mr. Coffees in the first place -- presents its own set of benefits, whether you're sipping coffee or tea.
Black Tea: Lowers Cholesterol
A study in the "Journal of Nutrition" found that incorporating black tea into a diet low in fat could help reduce levels of LDL, the type of cholesterol most often responsible for heart disease. In the study, drinking as many as five servings of tea each day brought down all levels of cholesterol; notably, participants who drank black tea with caffeine had lower total cholesterol levels than those in the study who drank a caffeine-free placebo.
Coffee: Fights Depression
A 2011 study published in the "Archive of Internal Medicine" followed more than 50,000 women in the U.S. for 10 years, and found that those who drank up two to four cups of coffee each day were less likely to be depressed than those who drank less than one cup per week. Those results match up with a 2013 study in the "World Journal of Biological Psychiatry" that found a link between drinking as many as four cups of a coffee each day, and a lower risk of death from suicide.
Decreasing Diabetes Risk
Both black tea and coffee have been shown to fight against diabetes. A 2009 study in the "Journal of Food Science" found that the polysaccharides in black tea contained glucose-inhibiting properties that could make it easier to manage diabetes. Notably, black tea contained more polysaccharides than oolong and green tea. Similarly, a report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee found that coffee consumption can decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes -- and it does all of this without increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke.
Caffeine: Makes You Smarter
Many of the benefits in both black tea and coffee come from the antioxidants found in the beans and leaves. But caffeine, found in both drinks, offers its own set of perks. A study in "Human Psychoparmacology: Clinical and Experimental" found that consuming a combination of caffeine and glucose after fasting overnight improved reaction time and verbal memory. In other words, dunking your donut in coffee or tea each morning could make you smarter.
- RealSimple.com: "6 Healthy Types of Tea"
- Journal of Nutrition: Black Tea Consumption Reduces Total and LDL Cholesterol in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Adults
- TheWeek.com: 9 Purported Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee
- IFT.org: Black Tea May Fight Diabetes
- Coffee & Health: Good Things in Life: Can Coffee Help in Diabetes Prevention?
- Archive of Internal Medicine: "Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women"
- The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry: Coffee Caffeine, and Risk of Completed Suicide: Results from three prospective cohorts of American adults.