Which Helps You More In The Morning: Tea, Water Or Coffee?


UPDATED: Thursday January 17, 2013 8:56 AM

Regardless of whether you are a morning person, you probably have a morning beverage habit. Coffee fans cannot face the day without a cup of joe, while tea drinkers are out of kilter if they don't awaken with a gentle cup of herb, black or green tea. A glass of water might well help you more in the morning than either of these more popular morning beverages.

Coffee:  Most morning coffee drinkers would not trade their first cup of coffee for any other beverage in the world, which is not surprising given that the caffeine in coffee is a mildly addictive stimulant. Moderate coffee consumption might have more benefits, including lowering risk of type 2 diabetes, reducing risk of gallstones and colon cancer, and -- the key effect for morning coffee drinkers -- improving cognitive function, Harvard Medical School reports. Coffee will keep you more alert, however, if you spread out your consumption through the day rather than a few big cups first thing in the morning. People with heart health concerns should discuss caffeine's potential effects on blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm with their doctors before consuming large amounts of coffee or any other caffeinated beverages.

Caffeinated Tea:  Black, green, white and oolong teas all come from the same plant and all contain caffeine, according to a Northwestern University's Medill Reports interview with Dr. Stanley Segall, professor emeritus of nutrition and food science at Drexel University. Tea contains antioxidants that help protect the body from the negative health effects of damaging free radicals, elements that roam the bloodstream causing cellular damage. The less-processed white and green teas have higher antioxidant levels than black and oolong teas. The caffeine in tea, as in coffee, may interfere with certain medicines, so check with your doctor about whether tea or coffee is appropriate to consume on an empty stomach in the morning.

Herbal Tea:  Herbals teas, or tisanes, have the same warm-beverage comforting factor as that morning cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, but without the acidity or caffeine. A variety of herbal teas are available in loose leaf and bag form, allowing you to keep an assortment on hand to match your morning mood. Different herbal teas may also help address the symptoms of a cold, upset digestion, or other ailments, according to David Perry at the University of New Hampshire. Ginger tea and peppermint tea help fight motion sickness and the morning sickness associated with pregnancy, so if you face a nauseating morning commute or are bearing a child, herbal teas might be the best morning choice for you. Always consult your doctor, however, before treating any medical condition with herbal alternatives, especially if you are pregnant.

Water:  Water is the most popular beverage in the world, and for good reason. Water helps all your bodily functions work more efficiently, from thinking to fighting disease to maintaining a healthful weight, according to a web page on the Lake Forest College website, and should be consumed before you drink anything else. Drink water all day, starting in the morning, advises the Iowa State University Nutrition Clinic. Improve the health benefits of that morning cup of water with a chunk of lemon. It's flavor will help wake you up, and it will add antioxidants to water's list of beneficial factors, according to a study published by Japanese researchers in the October 15, 1997, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.