We are an exceptionally health conscious society and, while we do not all necessarily obsess over what we eat or drink, many of us are especially careful about what we put into our bodies. For example, we have long concerned ourselves with calorie intake, how much white sugar we consume each day, and about somewhat confusing things like “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
And, among other culinary items that tend to concern us, coffee and tea rank up there among the ones we tend to debate the most.
The Hot Debate Over the Health Benefits and Downsides of Coffee
For a “food” item that is largely water, the debate over the health benefits of coffee, for example, has been brewing for decades.
According to food scientists, coffee, is composed of between 95 and 98 percent water. The remainder of the coffee is made up of a variety of compounds, including caffeine, which give coffee its unique flavor and aroma.
And despite what some decry as an unhealthy “addiction”, drinking coffee has been clinically proven to provide a variety of health benefits such as:
- Boosting energy levels: Coffee contains caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant that is known for its ability to increase energy levels.
- Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes: Some research suggests that consuming coffee regularly could be associated with a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes.
- May support brain health: Caffeine has been shown to help improve cognitive function, including memory, mood, and reaction time.
- Can reduce risk of depression: Some studies have found that coffee may be associated with a lowered risk of suffering from depression.
- A reduced risk of certain cancers: Coffee may play a role in reducing the risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
- May help drinkers live longer: Recent studies found that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from some of the leading causes of death.
On balance, however, too much caffeine is likely not beneficial to anyone, especially those who are pregnant or nursing. And it turns out that there are a few downsides to drinking coffee for some of that include the following:
- Because coffee contains caffeine, which can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure.
- Also, high intake of boiled, unfiltered coffee has been associated with a mild increase in cholesterol levels.
- And higher doses of caffeine may have negative effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.
- As many know, abruptly decreasing caffeine intake may cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty focusing on tasks. (Some say that this is simply a good reason to not stop drinking coffee, however!)
So, it’s important to keep these potential risks in mind when consuming coffee. However, it’s worth noting that moderate amounts of coffee is generally considered safe and even healthy for most people.
Tea Drinking as an Ancient Custom and Healthy Practice
It’s been estimated that humans have been drinking tea in one form or another for thousands of years. Coffee, on the other hand, is a relatively younger beverage choice with a history that only goes back about 600 years or so.
The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the accounts of Ahmed al-Ghaffar in Yemen. It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a similar way to how it is prepared now.
Tea, on the other hand, has a long and venerable history.
According to archaeological evidence, ancient tea bits have been found in the mounds of Shang Dynasty ruins in China, which tell us that people have been sipping this beverage for about 4,000 years.
Tea: Less Caffeine, More Health Bennies?
While it has at least one element in common with coffee, namely caffeine, tea is a completely different plant from the coffee plant. Tea comes from what is known as the camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub. Consequently, the chemical composition of tea differs greatly from that of coffee. And the amount caffeine in each differs, as well.
For example, tea leaves typically contain 3.5 percent caffeine, while coffee beans only have 1.1 to 2.2 percent. However, because the coffee brewing process uses hotter water, which extracts more of the caffeine from the beans, you’ll get more caffeine from a cup of coffee than a cup of tea.
And tea leaves, as it turns out, has some distinctly different health benefits as well.
In fact, drinking tea has been linked to many health benefits, including improved heart health, brain function, and even weight loss. Tea contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which are found in plant-based foods. Tea, however, contains a specific kind of flavonoid called polyphenol, which happens to be one of the most potent antioxidants. And polyphenols are known to help protect cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals.
Many tea drinkers know that there are essentially six types of tea: black, green, oolong, white, Pu-erh and yellow. However, black and green tea are the most commonly consumed, especially in America.
In fact, green tea is one of the most popular teas and has been shown to have many health benefits. These include the ability to help reduce the risk of cancer, improve oral health, and provide great benefits for skin.
Drinking tea, it turns out, can also help boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, and even ward off heart disease. While some brews provide more health advantages than others, there’s plenty of evidence that regularly drinking tea can have a lasting impact on your wellness.
For Your Coffee or Tea Selections, Cal Mart is Here to Serve You
When it comes to coffees, teas, and other treasured beverage treats, Cal Mart in Calistoga is a favorite destination. And Cal Mart has also been a longtime source for great shopping in Napa Valley.
For over 50 years now, Cal Mart has been a locally-owned and family-owned independent grocery store. With our dedicated staff, we have consistently provided a unique and enjoyable shopping experience for our customers.
And, as a result, we’ve been the “go to” destination for Napa Valley shoppers for more than five decades.
Our knowledgeable team of employees are proud to offer a healthy variety and wide selection of foods and favorites such as coffee and tea. Not only do they take great pride in all that our grocery store offers, but have helped to make Cal Mart the premier destination for fine Napa Valley wines, meats, cheeses, and fresh produce in Calistoga, as well.
All of which is why we’ve become known as “Napa Valley’s Finest Grocery.”
So, if you’re looking to find great coffee, superb tea, or other beverage items, then you should know that we offer a wide variety and huge selections. And you will find that this is also true in our grocery, our meat and seafood section, and in our gourmet cheese department. In addition, we offer the best in quality wines and craft beers, too.
And don’t forget to explore the unique and hard-to-find products in our specialty foods department!
By the way, spring is also the perfect time of year to treat yourself or someone you know with one of our beautiful gift baskets. And, of course, while you’re here, please feel free to treat yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or even a hot chocolate, Coffee Bar.
Remember that at Cal Mart, you will always find something that is unexpected, unusual, and uncommon!