Positive and Negative Effects of Coffee and Tea Drinking
Most of us love drinking coffee and tea. However, we may be worried about the negative effects they are having on our health. Perhaps we shouldn't worry so much about indulging in our favorite beverages occasionally. There are both pros and cons, health-wise, to drinking coffee and tea.
The caffeine in tea and coffee has an effect on both the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system. A cup of tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine and coffee around 100 mg, although these estimates vary considerably depending on the size of the cup and the strength of the beverage.
The Negative Health Effects of Coffee and Tea
- Caffeine doses of 50 mg or more can cause pharmacological effects, while doses of over 250 mg are likely to cause significant effects. The biological activity of caffeine, and other related compounds, means that excessive coffee and tea drinking is likely to be adverse to our health in several ways.
- Drinking coffee and tea can trigger, or aggravate nervousness, anxiety and depression. It can exacerbate psychiatric problems that already exist and often causes sleeping problems.
- As well as mental problems, coffee and tea drinking can cause physical problems too. The caffeine acts as a diuretic which can make us urinate too much. Excessive consumption of these beverages can also cause wind, diarrhea, tremors, dyspepsia, migraine, abnormal heart rhythms, restless legs, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Drinking coffee or tea with meals can reduce iron absorption from food by up to 2/3. Coffee and tea can also reduce the absorption of zinc.
- Drinking too much tea can cause constipation.
- Caffeine also stimulates the secretion of gastric acid. Decaffeinated coffee, however, stimulates it even more.
The Positive Health Effects of Coffee and Tea
- The caffeine in both coffee and tea is obviously useful as a mild stimulant. However, this artificial stimulation is short lived and over-stimulation can cause some of the negative health effects listed above.
- The stimulating effect of the caffeine may be helpful to asthma sufferers. The asthma medicine theophylline is similar, chemically, to caffeine.
- Both coffee and tea are now understood to have antioxidant benefits on our health due to the polyphenols contained in them.
- Tea, especially, provides us with certain minerals, particularly manganese and fluoride.
- It may be that coffee and tea drinking protects us from dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life. It might also reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Both coffee and tea consumption may help to protect us against some cancers. They may also help to reduce the risk of diabetes and liver problems. Coffee may also lower the risk of gout in males over 40.
Green tea drinking, especially, is thought to be good for our health. Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols, so is great as an antioxidant. Green tea may also help to boost the metabolism, which helps with weight loss.
Moderation is probably the key when it comes to drinking coffee and tea. Too much of anything tends to be a bad thing, but drinking 2 or 3 cups of your favorite hot beverage each day shouldn't do you any harm and may actually benefit your health.