Do you want to make the switch from regular coffee to herbal tea? While the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that two to four cups of coffee a day should not be a problem for most people, cutting back or eliminating caffeine from your diet can be beneficial. After all, the FDA advises a limit of 100 to 200 mg of caffeine per day. For comparison, a regular brewed cup of coffee can have anywhere from 95 to 200 mg of caffeine per cup. Even black tea can have 40 to 120 mg of caffeine per cup.
Research has shown that both tea and coffee have benefits in terms of antioxidants, but when the two are compared, tea does come out ahead, particularly because it has few, if any, negative side effects. Here’s why:
• Happy Hearts—Tea lowers blood pressure, while even decaf coffee has been linked to high cholesterol.
• Brain Power—Drinking green tea has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s.
• Building Bones—Green tea can maintain bone strength.
• Stone Buster—Prevention of kidney stones has been linked to green tea.
• Weight Wonders—Caffeine in any form can suppress your appetite, but green tea is believed to rev up your metabolism of fat.
• Some Smile—The main antioxidant in green tea may ward off cavities.
While you might be tempted to just quit coffee cold turkey, it is probably best to wean yourself slowly off of coffee’s caffeine to eliminate any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue or irritability. The Mayo Clinic advises that you gradually cut back by:
• Drink one fewer can of soda or cup of coffee a day
• Avoid caffeinated beverages later in the day
• Brew regular tea for less time to cut down on its caffeine content
Other ways to make the switch include mixing regular tea or coffee with decaffeinated and gradually increase the level of decaf. You could also switch to a smaller cup.