Coffee's caffeine definitely provides a better morning wake-up than the fructose in an apple, but either choice offers complicated benefits. If you exercise at the start of your day, an apple supplies enough fuel for an hour-long workout. If you make apples a regular part of your diet, your breathing can improve. Drinking coffee before a morning workout delays the use of glycogen as muscle fuel. Instead, you'll start by burning fat.
When you sleep, your body temperature drops slightly and your blood pressure falls. Returning to your normal levels takes time, so you experience a sluggish period when you first wake up. A cup of hot coffee provides warmth to counter the morning chill, but also contains chemical compounds that boost you quickly into a full waking state. The 100 milligrams of caffeine in a typical cup of coffee increases your heart rate and speeds your breathing. Caffeine also raises your blood pressure and stimulates your central nervous system. Caffeine makes you more alert and fosters a feeling of well-being.
Coffee provides almost no caloric energy. If you wake up hungry and only drink coffee, you can quickly run low on blood sugar. An apple provides no energizing caffeine but supplies enough carbohydrate energy for a quick start. A large raw apple weighing 223 grams contains 116 calories. About half the approximately 10 grams of sugars in an apple consists of fast-acting sucrose and glucose. Fructose, the other half, takes longer to digest, so an apple provides stable energy for a longer period than a cup of coffee with sugar. Digestible fiber in the apple extends the energy supply and makes your stomach feel full.
Both coffee and apples contain antioxidant compounds that offer genuine health benefits over the long term. If you drink six cups or less of coffee during your day, your risk of developing diabetes falls and your chances of cardiovascular illness drops. If you drink coffee, your risk of liver cancer drops by half, according to Harvard Medical School's Family Health Guide. Moderate coffee drinking lowers your chances of dying from any cause by 15 to 19 percent, according to an article published in the "New York Times" in 2006. If you drink coffee regularly, you run no extra risk of hypertension.
Apples can also bolster your health in ways that benefit early morning activities. Apples contain high levels of phytonutrients, antioxidants that give apple skin its color. Eating apples regularly improves your breathing. If you eat more than two apples weekly, your bronchial tubes react less violently to irritants and your risk of asthma falls, according to an article published in "Nutrition Journal" in 2004. Flavonoids in apples improve lung function, protecting you from lung cancer and from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you eat five or more apples every week, your lungs could hold 138 milliliters more air during a forced expiratory volume test, compared to someone who doesn't eat apples.
- SportsMed Web: Caffeine and the Athlete
- Healthy Sleep: The Characteristics of Sleep
- Linus Pauling Institute: Is Coffee Harmful or Healthful?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Search -- Apple
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Coffee's Health Benefits
- The New York Times: Coffee as a Health Drink? Studies Find Some Benefits
- Nutrition Journal: Apple Phytochemicals and Their Health Benefits