An apple a day might be credited with keeping the doctor away, but can eating an apple in the morning wake up you better than a steaming cup of java? There's no real research comparing the two directly, but if you're looking for a quick energy jolt, coffee is king.
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That being said, the caffeine pick-me-up of coffee doesn't come without some potential downfalls. And while eating an apple may not provide as big of an energy boost, there are other health benefits of reaching for an apple versus coffee first thing in the morning.
An apple won't provide you with the same caffeine jolt as a cup of coffee, but it can give you sustained energy throughout the day. Apples contain a natural sugar called fructose, which is a direct energy source for your body, and lots of fiber, which can help balance your blood sugar and give you sustained energy without blood sugar crashes.
Waking Up With Caffeine
Lots of people reach for coffee first thing in the morning as a quick pick-me-up to get their day started. That's because the caffeine in that coffee (about 80 to 115 milligrams per brewed 8-ounce cup) hits you in about one hour or even more quickly if you're drinking it on an empty stomach, as many people do. Because caffeine is a stimulant, consuming it increases your blood pressure and breathing rate, which can also increase alertness and metabolism.
But while you may be drinking your coffee to get you going, there are also other health benefits of having a cup of joe. According to Harvard Health, drinking coffee has been connected to a reduced risk of developing several chronic diseases, including:
- Heart disease (heart attack, heart failure and stroke)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson's disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Cirrhosis (liver damage)
- Gout (a form of arthritis that often affects the big toe)
Read more: 14 Legit Ways Coffee Can Boost Your Health
Apple vs. Coffee
Although coffee is good for you in some ways, it can also negatively affect you, especially if you're sensitive to caffeine. Drinking too much can make you feel jittery or anxious and interfere with your sleep. Chronic overconsumption can cause nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, dehydration, upset stomach and fatigue, according to Washington College.
On the other hand, an apple contains natural sugar in the form of fructose, which can serve as an important source of energy for your body, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation. The fructose doesn't give you the same jolt as coffee, but it provides slow, sustained energy that also won't make you feel anxious or reduce your sleep quality.
Apples are also rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber and lots of phytochemical and vitamin C, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Read more: 8 Healthy Apple Snacks
So, while it's true that you won't get that same caffeine boost from choosing an apple over a cup of coffee, you also won't get any of the negative side effects and you'll get some added health benefits.
If you're not willing to get rid of your coffee completely, you can compromise by eating an apple in the morning before anything else and then drinking your coffee about a half hour later. That way, you'll have something in your belly and the caffeine won't hit you as quickly and powerfully.