When we wake up in the morning and head out to get our first cup of coffee, we all know why we are reaching for it, caffeine. Caffeine provides a great way to wake up in the morning, and can get your day started while reducing drowsiness and regulating mood. Both coffee and tea have several other active molecules that act in such a way as to act together in a type of mutual benefit to each other. To really understand why we enjoy coffee and tea, it can be helpful to know what is in it!
What’s in your Coffee?
Caffeine itself works by blocking the buildup of adenosine receptors in the body, effectively stopping adenosine from attaching themselves in the first place. Adenosine is one of the chemicals in the body that causes us to become drowsy. When it comes to adenosine, the buildup normally can only be stopped by sleeping, and this blocking of adenosine either way is not dangerous, which is why caffeine is so safe. It also acts as a slight stimulant directly on the CNS system itself.
Something that both coffee and tea have in common is theobromine, which is actually also in chocolate, is theobromine. Theobromine is also in the family of xanthine-based stimulants, similar to caffeine itself. It also acts as an adenosine inhibitor, with other slightly different effects. Some of this is down to the fact that theobromine is also an
What’s in your Tea?
Something exclusively in tea is l-theanine, which is commonly used for anti-anxiety purposes. For some people, this is why they prefer tea over coffee, because while it may make caffeine cause slightly less of a stimulant effect than coffee, it also means that tea can be more relaxing for some people. L-theanine by itself is an anxiolytic, but combined with caffeine they actually act together to reduce the negative side effects from either one.
How it Can Help
In both tea and coffee there are also antioxidants, which can result in an increase in general well-being, mainly through the fact that these act on free radicals in the body that cause oxidative stress, and directly combat and reduce these. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and this provides for a lot of it’s helpful nature.
Theophylline is also found in tea(as well as chocolate), and acts as a breathing dilator, being one of the reasons people find it easier to breathe after drinking tea. It does this mainly through increasing the amount of oxygen taken in through the lungs. Theophylline also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which has its own host of benefits. Inflammation has been found to be the cause of a large amount of joint pain, as well as the cause of some forms of depression, meaning that anything that reduces inflammation can be highly helpful to certain people. Inflammation itself can cause a ton of issues, which hopefully this can address some of.
Hopefully you now know what exactly is in your tea and coffee, and know what effects to look for after you drink it!