Today, when you reach for your morning coffee or your afternoon tea, know that you are receiving more than a dose of pick-me-up. Coffee and tea drinkers receive metabolism-boosting benefits and much more from these beverages.

What makes coffee and tea such desirable drinks? For many, it’s the caffeine, also known as the pick-me-up. Caffeine is a stimulant of the nervous system. By blocking the receptors in your body that recognize adenosine, a substance that makes you sleepy, caffeine gives you alert and energized feelings in as little as 30 minutes. Both coffee and tea are zero-calorie drinks (without sugar or creamer), making them great beverage options—even if you reach for a decaffeinated version! They also are great alternatives to sugary beverages like energy drinks or soda. 

Brew to Burn

Caffeine found in coffees and teas help boost metabolism. Metabolism is the biochemical process by which your body obtains energy from the food you eat. By boosting your metabolism, you’re increasing the rate at which your resting body burns calories throughout the day. 

Burning more calories is a good thing, especially if you’re trying to shed pounds or maintain a healthy weight. Both coffee and tea take it a step further—they are fat-metabolizing superstars. A powerful component of coffee, chlorogenic acid (CGA), helps people lose weight and decrease fat both in the abdominal area and around organs. A component of green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the first place by interrupting the process by which fat cells develop and form. Drinking green tea or coffee can cause the body to release more heat even while at rest, a process known as thermogenesis, which further promotes the breakdown of fat. With their known anti-obesity properties, tea and coffee help with weight loss and can even protect against Type 2 diabetes.

Because coffee and tea are zero-calorie and metabolism-boosting, people who practice intermittent fasting (IF) often lean on coffee and tea between their meals. Coffee can help you delay hunger and may even increase autophagy, the process through which your body gets rid of worn out components that cause disease. 

Dry leaves of green tea and fine Roasted coffee beans, top view closeup. Coffee or Green tea concept
Coffee and tea help you burn more calories and may also keep you from accumulating fat in your mid-section. If you practice intermittent fasting, coffee and tea will keep you distracted from hunger.

Brew to Protect

Are there benefits beyond weight loss and metabolism? Yes! Coffee and tea are full of polyphenols—the most abundant source of antioxidants. Coffee’s polyphenols (flavonoids) and tea’s polyphenols (catechins) search and destroy free radicals, which our body makes through processes like breaking down food or being exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Free radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. By containing an abundance of antioxidants, tea and coffee are disease-fighting power drinks. 

Coffee may lower your risk for certain types of cancer and decrease your risk of depression. Studies have shown that it can lower one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, too. Tea can boost one’s immune system and may be protective against developing certain types of cancer. Tea may also help lower blood pressure, triglycerides levels, and cholesterol levels, specifically the “bad” LDL and overall cholesterol levels. It’s also great for your overall gut health

Brew to get better sleep

If the disease-fighting properties of tea and coffee aren’t enough, are you part of the 51% of people who are unsatisfied with their sleep? Whether you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, it’s no secret that sleep is imperative for metabolism, mental wellness, and our overall health. 

You may have heard of chamomile tea and its benefits for helping you fall asleep, but do you know how chamomile accomplishes this? Another antioxidant, known as apigenin, binds to specific receptors in your brain to initiate sleep. Apigenin works quite oppositely to caffeine, which you may recall binds to receptors to reduce sleepiness. 

Another component of some teas, L-theanine, also helps at bedtime. L-theanine, found mainly in green and black teas, is known to relax the mind and help you fall asleep faster. It also may help with overall mindfulness, helping you stay focused and feel less stressed leading up to bedtime.

A lack of sleep is associated with obesity, diabetes, mental disorders, heart disease, and more. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is at least 7 hours. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body! Try drinking some chamomile tea before bed and watching your coffee intake, especially later in the day, to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.

Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea and others are known for their sleep-inducing properties. Sound sleep favors a healthy metabolism!

Brewing: Where to Start

A person with normal sensitivity to caffeine who is otherwise healthy can handle 300 to 400 mg of caffeine (about three to four 8-oz cups of coffee or eight cups of green tea) a day. About 10% of the population is hyposensitive to caffeine, meaning they process it faster and can handle larger doses. Oppositely, some individuals are hypersensitive to caffeine, meaning they can experience jitters and an increased heart rate even with small amounts of caffeine. People who are hypersensitive to caffeine and people with certain medical conditions like arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) may need to watch their caffeine levels more closely and limit their consumption. 

Because many teas are lower in caffeine (e.g., white tea) than coffee, it’s a great choice for those who need to be more conscious of their caffeine intake or those who are just more sensitive to caffeine. Also, try decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas! Some of the same benefits in caffeinated tea and coffee are also associated with the decaffeinated versions—without the jitters or burst of energy. But remember, you shouldn’t add sugar or creamer to your coffee or tea and expect the same great benefits; drink your coffee black or your tea unsweetened. 

If you are not already a coffee or tea drinker or whether you like your coffee caffeinated or decaffeinated or your tea green, white, black, or oolong, consider reaching for a cup or two today to receive metabolism-boosting benefits and more!


Courtney Adams

As a science writer, I strive to make others excited about health and science! In my free time, I enjoy playing board games, tending to my houseplants and fish tanks, and spending time with my dog and cats!

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