Guest article by: Lucy Wyndham.

A relaxing cup of tea, a morning cup of coffee, enjoying a refreshing cold soft drink or treating yourself to a chocolate – all these daily pleasures have a common ingredient known as caffeine.  Originally called “theine”, caffeine was first discovered in tea in 1827. When it was later discovered in coffee, the term “theine” was dropped.

Caffeine is one of the most commonly used psychoactive drugs in the world. According to an article in Medical Daily, it is estimated that approximately 90 percent of the world’s population uses caffeine in one form or another, and 80 percent of U.S. adults consume caffeine every single day to increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue and improve concentration and focus.

Coffee vs Tea 

The biggest myth about the caffeine content between coffee and tea is that one contains more caffeine than the other.  While this is true when measuring coffee and tea in their dry forms, this is false when comparing brewed coffee and tea. One normally uses 2 grams of tea per 8 ounce cup and 10 grams of coffee for the same quantity of water. It also depends on the method and length of brewing or steeping. Basically, this means that coffee has a higher concentration of caffeine per serving than tea.

Contradictory to common belief, there are many possible health benefits of caffeine.

Burns fat and increases metabolism

Caffeine is one of the few natural substances that have proven to aid fat burning. Studies show that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3 to 11 percent and can increase fat burning by as much as 10 percent in obese individuals and 29 percent in lean people.

Aids weight loss

Research out of Germany showed that weight loss participants who drank 2 to 4 cups of caffeinated beverages in a day were more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off than those that did not.

Protects from Alzheimer’s and dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide.  According to Alzheimer’s.net, studies show that caffeine can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, even in seniors who already have some form of mild dementia.

Lowers the risk of Parkinson’s

In an article by Medical News Today,  a number of studies have suggested caffeine has the potential to slow Parkinson’s disease which is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world, caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.

Lowers the risk of some types of cancer

A new study out of Burgers University found that caffeine prevented skin cancer in hairless mice.  Recent studies have also shown that caffeine reduces the risk of other cancers.

Protects the liver

According to an article in Cleanse.net, caffeine detoxes the liver and cleanses the colon when taken as an enema. A caffeine enema, when done properly, causes the liver to produce more bile, opens the bile ducts, and causes the bile to flow excreting toxins more quickly from the body.

Reduces kidney stone risk

In a large 217,883 person study, those that consumed caffeine had less kidney stone formation that those that did not consume caffeine. The researchers believe that this is because caffeine makes urine more dilute.

Reduces chronic inflammation

Researchers from Stanford University found that caffeine blocks the expression of a gene responsible for low-grade chronic inflammation as we age.  This inflammation eventually leads to high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and heart disease.

To eliminate caffeine intake completely, one must switch to herbal tea.  Herbal infusions such as Chamomile, Rooibos and Peppermint are made from botanicals. All real tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis which contains caffeine.  Decaffeinated tea still contains about 5 to 10 mg of caffeine per cup. The amount of caffeine in tea depends on the varieties used, the growing methods and the leaves selected. Whether enjoying a cup of strong black tea, detoxing green tea or healthy herbal tea – savour the moment but remember: everything in moderation.

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