Coffee and Tea Health Benefits: 5 Facts to Know

Society is hooked on bottled water, and although the sentiment is beginning to change, we still think that coffee and tea should be on the “use infrequently” list.

Funny how topsy-turvy our health perceptions are. I’ve written in the past about how the “8 glasses a day” of water is built entirely on dogma with no actually supporting medical research to back it up. Personal trainers, doctors and weight loss experts have pushed the mantra seemingly forever. You need to drink water to feel more full (not true), you need to drink water to help your body detox (not true—although your body uses a water molecule to detox, drinking more water will not stimulate the detoxification process). You need to drink water before you feel thirsty because by then it’s too late (not true).

The list goes on, and none of these recommendations backed up by medical literature. (Just in case you need more info on how little of an effect water has for dieters, here is another recent article that I didn’t feel compelled enough to write a full blog article on)

Enter tea and coffee.

The research behind these two drinks is extensive and ranges from lowering the risk of diabetes and Parkinson’s (for coffee) and lowering the risk of cancer and osteoporosis (tea). When comparing these two drinks and their health effects to water, it’s reminiscent of a battle between tax accountants and Filipino Escrima masters.

And yet, even as I sit here in the airport awaiting my flight, I quickly lose count of the number of dutiful passengers lugging around that 12.5 ounce bottle of BPA laden tap water marketed as spring water.

Just in case all of this is not enough to convince you, I present this particular article as further evidence. Researchers looked at a group of almost 2500 Manhattan residents comprised of whites, blacks and Hispanics, both males and females, followed for 11 years. Here’s what they found:

  1. For each cup of coffee there was a 7% lower risk of dying from any cause, while caffeinated coffee offered a very strong protection among those who drank at least 4 cups per day.
  2. Each cup of tea lowered overall risk of death by 9%.
  3. At least 4 cups of coffee per day led to a hefty 43% lower risk of nonvascular death.
  4. At least 2 cups of tea per day was not as powerful, but still logged a 37% lower risk of nonvascular death.
  5. Lest we switch to coffee instead of tea too quickly, at least 2 cups of tea led to a staggering 67% lower risk of cancer.

With these kinds of numbers, there is no reason to continue to push drinking 8 glasses of water per day in lieu of tea and coffee.

A few points of clarification, though. Given how much we toxify coffee here in the States, this data may have been stronger if we put in a few requirements: Organic coffee (coffee is notoriously loaded with pesticides) only, with no creamer and no added sugars and NO artificial sweeteners. Instead, opt for some locally grown honey, cinnamon and/or coconut or soy based creamers.

As for tea, unsweetened is the only option, although I personally drink all kinds of naturally flavored teas (you’ll never catch me with boring old Lipton black) and constantly fluctuate between greens, blacks and whites. I’ve written about how I prepare tea in a previous blog article that can be found by clicking here. In summary, by all means continue drinking your boring water out of a diabetes, obesity and cancer causing plastic water bottle, but you can no longer deceive yourself into thinking it’s for your own good.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.