Tea vs Coffee – Which Is The Better Caffeine Choice For Runners

March 25, 2020

Tea vs Coffee – Which Is The Better Caffeine Choice For Runners

A lot of athletes start their day with coffee or tea, especially before their exercise session. And there is a good reason for that. Studies over the years showed that drinking caffeinated beverages before your workout can improve your endurance and focus for as little as 60 seconds to around 2 hours. 

Drinking a caffeinated drink has also proven to be beneficial to weight loss. Although there are no studies that definitely showed that caffeine consumption leads to permanent weight loss, scientists have some theories about why drinking a caffeinated beverage may help with fat and weight loss. 

The First theory is that caffeine may reduce the feeling of hunger for a while, so you might end up not being hungry after drinking a cup. Please note that this works only with certain types of desires, and skipping meals is not healthy, especially for runners. 

The second theory is that caffeine promotes more fat burn after the workout is over because it temporarily supports the process of breaking down the fat and boosting your metabolism. But keep in mind that this effect is usually not present in habitual caffeine consumers who drink more than 300mg of caffeine per day. 

If you are a runner who is trying to shed some weight, running is one of the most effective weight loss exercises, but combining it with a small dose of caffeine may boost your progress just a little bit more. 

The difference between coffee and tea

Both coffee and tea are very popular not only with the athletes who are trying to boost their performance but also around the world. Because they have influenced cultures throughout the years, we should probably take into consideration the health benefits of each of the two most popular hot beverages

Although the histories of the two drinks are different, one thing they have in common is that wars have been waged for both of them. 

We cannot really know about the whole history of tea, because it is around 3000 years old. 

There is a story of how tea became one of the most loved beverages – the emperor Shennong was first to try this beverage after a spring of tea leaves accidentally fell into the water that was brewing. He loved it so much that he had to share it with everyone. Although this story is probably a myth because there is no evidence that this event actually took place, we are certain that everyone who tasted the tea for the first time was enchanted with its taste and smell. 

Compared to the tea, the history of coffee is relatively short. In the 1400s, the effects of coffee beans were first discovered by a Yemeni farmer who noticed that his cattle could not sleep after munching on the coffee beans. The next day he tried for himself, and he was the first to experience what is known today as ‘coffee buzz’.

Caffeine in coffee and caffeine in tea

When brewed, coffee has more caffeine than tea, but tea leaves actually have more caffeine than coffee beans. 

If you have ever wondered about the amount of caffeine in your favorite beverage, there is around 70-140mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee, while there is around 20mg of caffeine in black tea and around 35mg of caffeine in green tea. 

But although Japanese green teas generally have less caffeine than coffee, sencha can have around one third to a half amount of that in coffee; while matcha is definitely an exception in the tea world – because the whole leaf is grounded to make the matcha tea, and as we already said, before brewing them, tea leaves have more caffeine than coffee beans.

Why is tea a better idea?

Sometimes having more caffeine is not the best option because it can actually be counterproductive. Lots of runners, either professionals or beginners, do not reach for a coffee or an energy drink in the morning. Instead, they sip a cup of soothing green tea. Although it has only half of the caffeine, green tea is often a much better choice because the acid in coffee can have a negative effect on stomach balance and can lead to heartburn or stomach issues. 

Another reason why tea is a much better option than coffee is because it offers almost three times more vitamins and minerals than coffee. Japanese green teas are filled with all sorts of vitamins. For example, 100g of sencha leaves can have about 250mg of vitamin C. However, that is 5mg of vitamin C per 100ml of the beverage. Still, if you take into consideration that an average person needs 65-90mg per day, that is quite a decent number. 

Drink tea for better sleep

We all know about the effect caffeine can have on our sleeping pattern. Also, too much caffeine can cause anxiety and irritability, which can even lead to higher stress levels. But it also depends on our genetics. Some people feel the effects of coffee when they consume 300mg of caffeine, some feel them after 1000mg. 

But coffee consumption can lead to insomnia, and that is why it is not recommended to drink it later in the day. 

Sleep is an essential activity for our health, especially if you are an athlete when you are sleeping, your body is still using that time to regulate your health and the essential functions you need for daily life. So drinking tea is a better option if you are one of the people who are quite sensitive to caffeine but still want to boost your workout performance and speed up your runs. 

Drink tea for better digestion

Did you ever notice how a cup of coffee can get our bowels moving? Well, that is because coffee has a laxative effect, more interestingly, the decaffeinated coffee has a similar outcome. 

But it seems caffeine itself promoted bowel movements, too, because it stimulates the muscles you use to move the food through the digestive tract. 

Why is tea then better than coffee? Well, because coffee has a laxative effect, it may lead to diarrhea or stomach ulcers. 

Since coffee can obviously have a damaging effect on the digestive system, drinking tea seems like a better option for healthy digestion.

About The Author

Mackenzie Jervis
Mackenzie Jervis
Researcher at WalkJogRun

Machkenzie Jervis is a writer and traveler.
She's visited 65 countries solo, 12 with her baby. She blogs about family travel while writing novels and binge-watching British TV. 
Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram


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