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Coffee or Tea?

Is tea better than coffee when it comes to health benefits? The tally is in.

Most Americans can't greet the day without a caffeinated kick in the pants, usually in the form of coffee.

Research has shown that coffee has health benefits, despite its bad reputation. Lately, news reports extolling the benefits of tea—particularly green tea—have java lovers wondering whether they shouldn't switch teams. But is tea better? PT pits the brews head-to-head.


  1. Heart: Tea relaxes arteries and lowers blood pressure. Decaf coffee is associated with high cholesterol.
  2. Brain: Green tea may prevent Alzheimer's disease.
  3. Plumbing: Green tea may prevent kidney stones.
  4. Bones: Green tea may help keep bones strong, but coffee has been linked to osteoporosis.
  5. Weight Control: Caffeine from either source suppresses appetite, but green tea may spur fat metabolism.
  6. Teeth: Green tea's main antioxidant may prevent cavities.


  1. Diabetes: Drinking more than four daily cups of coffee lowers the risk of diabetes. Tea has no similar effect.
  2. Brain: Coffee protects seniors against Parkinson's disease
  3. Cancer: Coffee is linked to lower rates of liver and colon cancer, while the FDA says more research is needed to support tea's anticancer claims.
  4. Plumbing: Coffee prevents gallstones.

Tea = 6 Coffee = 4

The Bottom Line: Everyone should drink either coffee or tea, says Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Both beverages are brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants. If you're not choosy, drink tea. Says Vinson, "It's unquestionably better for your heart and has hardly any negative side effects."