Why you can trust us

We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we believe in. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Is green tea really better than coffee? Doctors and nutritionists weigh in

Is green tea really better than coffee? Doctors and nutritionists weigh in

Whenever I order a cup of green tea at breakfast — or refuse coffee — people assume it's because I'm on a health kick. "Trying to cut back on caffeine?" they ask. "Want to kick your coffee habit?" they inquire. But the truth is: I just don't like the taste of coffee. I have always preferred a comforting cup of tea with a drizzle of honey and a squeeze of lemon.

Quick Overview

The idea that green tea is healthier than coffee is one that has persisted for years. Though the vast majority of people drink at least one cup of coffee every day, many still consider green tea to be the superior morning beverage. But is that actually true? As an avid green tea lover, I decided to get the facts. Here's what doctors and nutritionists have to say about the green tea versus coffee debate.

One of the primary reasons green tea is considered the better beverage? It has less caffeine than coffee. "An 8 oz. cup of coffee can have close to or over 100 mg. of caffeine while the same size cup of green tea might have 50 mg. or less," explains Dr. Neha Pathak, MD, FACP, an Atlanta-based primary care doctor. This is an important consideration for people with certain health conditions, but in general, Pathak says, "the choice depends on personal preference and how your body responds to each drink."

Something else to keep in mind when deciding what to put in your morning cup? What you're adding to each beverage before consuming it. "People commonly take coffee with cream, sugar, and/or flavor syrups, which can add a lot of calories and jack up its glycemic index, especially when people drink it before they’ve had anything to eat," says Catherine Rall, a Denver-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

All the experts I spoke to raved about the health benefits of the antioxidants found in green tea. "Green tea has lots of catechins, an antioxidant that helps fight arthritis, inflammation and cancer. Catechins can also lead to improved overall heart health," Dr. Brynna Connor, MD, a Texas-based board-certified family medicine physician explains. She added, "Beyond its ability to help protect skin cells from UV damage, this superfood has amino acids that are beneficial for boosting brain health, improving mood and reducing stress."

But that's not all. You've probably read or heard something about green tea's fat-burning power and it turns out, it's not all hype. "Green tea has impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Research studies have also found that green tea may help with lowering glucose and insulin levels, which is a big perk if you struggle with insulin resistance or excess body weight," says Alyssa Pacheco, a Registered Dietitian based in Boston.

This is important: Just because green tea is good for you doesn't mean coffee is bad for you. In fact, many of the experts I talked to offered that coffee has plenty of its own health benefits. "Coffee is also high in antioxidants, which have been linked with better glucose metabolism and lower inflammation," says Pathak. "Coffee studies have also shown that it can improve energy levels, mental alertness and physical performance. It may also lower the risk of certain diseases like type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's," she added.

As with many foods and drinks, moderation is paramount when enjoying coffee. "Coffee can have health risks when consumed in large quantities," Connor explains. "In addition to insomnia, irritability, and irregular heartbeat due to high levels of caffeine, coffee can also cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, especially in people who are not habitual coffee drinkers."

If you're on the fence about adding green tea to your daily diet, caffeine is the key consideration. "Individuals with certain conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, acid reflux, high blood pressure and those who are pregnant should limit their intake of both green tea and coffee due to their caffeine content," says Dr. Soma Mandal, a board-certified internist and women's health specialist based in New Jersey. She adds, "It's important to remember that maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise is more beneficial for overall health than relying solely on the benefits of green tea or coffee."

"Not all green tea is the same," Mandal warns. When shopping for green tea online or at your local grocery store, she says it's best to choose high-quality, organic brands that aren't highly processed with unnecessary additives.

Consider this highly-rated pick if you're looking for an affordable way to add green tea to your everyday routine. It's USDA organic and verified non-GMO, plus it's wallet-friendly. You'll get 70 tea bags for less than $7!

$7 at Amazon

When it comes to pre-prepared green tea drinks, Francesca Alfano, a New York-based Certified Dietitian Nutritionist says to "opt for freshly-brewed organic versions rather than sugary bottled options to maximize health benefits."

Shoppers on Amazon give this tasty green tea drink 4.6 out of 5 stars, with many saying it's refreshing and best enjoyed cold.

$20 at Amazon

One final consideration when buying green tea? Loose leaves may be better than pre-bagged options. "Now that we are learning more about microplastics and their health harms, I'm also looking for tea that is not contained in tea bags or in plastic packaging," Pathak says. "Matcha is a particularly potent form due to its concentrated nutrients. Matcha is powdered tea leaves and is consumed as a suspension in water, so the caffeine content is higher," she explains.

This popular matcha powder is No.1 best-seller on Amazon with more than 90,000 customer ratings. One person called it, "The best matcha I ever had" while another commented, "The taste is amazing,."

$20 at Amazon