Here's the tea, folks: I, a diehard coffee drinker for the past 10 years, am now officially a morning tea drinker. The drink comes in such a broad variety of flavors, from Thai jasmine, to black chai, to even your most basic pumpkin spice. Plus, it's almost impossible to feel anything less than totally fancy when you're sipping freshly steeped tea out of a gorgeous mug. So even if you swear you'd never give up your morning frappe, some of the benefits of drinking tea versus coffee in the morning might at least convince you to switch things up on occasion.
Of course, if you have a strong preference for one morning beverage or the other, no one's saying you have to switch sides. If you're a coffee fan, just make sure you're drinking the high-quality stuff so that you're reaping all of the potential health benefits. "Tea and coffee can both be great as healthy drinks. The main thing with coffee is you want to try and get the most natural form of it you can," Jamie Logie, a nutritionist and personal trainer, tells Elite Daily in an email. "If you can grind your own beans, it keeps it as natural as possible. Ground coffee can still be great, though it might have a bit less of an antioxidant content than fresh ground."
While coffee does have its antioxidants, tea is really the winner when it comes to being full of nutrition, according to Logie. "Tea is a bigger cleanser and detoxifier than coffee, especially red clover, burdock, ginger, hibiscus," she explains. "Green tea is still a great go-to, as it has a high antioxidant content and as much vitamin C as an orange."
If your main goal from your morning latte is an extra hit of energy and focus to get you through the day, the good news is that both tea and coffee can do the trick. What's more important to focus on, though, says sports dietitian Kelsey Hampton, MS, CSSD, RDN, LD, is figuring out the amount of caffeine that works best for your body. "Finding the 'sweet spot' of caffeine intake, whether from coffee or tea, can improve focus and alertness in the brain," she tells Elite Daily in an email. "However, too far past the sweet spot can induce over-alertness, jitters, and increased heart rate that may lead to an anxious feeling." This balance will be different for everyone, though, so you'll just have to feel out what works for your body.
Since tea is naturally less caffeinated (green tea has roughly a tenth of the amount of caffeine in a typical latte, according to Huffington Post), it could be easier to avoid going over this caffeine threshold. But tea also has a natural anti-jitter element built in. "Not only is tea much lower in caffeine, but it also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain," explains Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com. "Studies show that GABA has a natural calming effect and may play a role in the prevention of anxiety and depression."
Then, of course, there's the issue of how these morning beverages affect your sleep schedule. If you're a regular coffee drinker, then you probably already know that drinking too much of the good stuff, or sipping on the drink late in the day, can seriously mess with your ability to snooze. Although green tea still has caffeine in it, Armen Ghazarians, CEO of Finish Fit, tells Elite Daily that it could have major benefits for your sleep pattern. "Its been shown that green tea can actually improve the quality of your sleep," he tells Elite Daily in an email.
In what is just another perk for tea lovers everywhere, Haley Hughes, a registered dietitian and owner of RDRx Nutrition, tells Elite Daily that a mug full of your favorite lemongrass tea or classic English breakfast could help keep your mouth healthy. "Coffee with sugary syrups and milks can definitely lead to bad breath," she explains. "Tea has been shown to do the opposite, and may even inhibit bacteria growth." If you're really intent on staying fresh, reach for a cinnamon tea or even a sharp peppermint packet.
Whether you opt for a refreshing iced coffee first thing in the a.m., or decide to switch things up with a warming tea, enjoy your drink knowing that, whichever one you've chosen, it's doing some good things for your body.