Coffee used to be my end-all-be-all. I’d rather go without food the entire day than without coffee. As time went on though, I started feeling something wrong in my digestive system. It turned out that I have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder where acid (a very bad-tasting substance, mind you) comes up out of the stomach, past the lower esophageal sphincter, and back up the throat—causing inflammation (or infection on really bad days).
After a few months of medication, life was at least tolerable, but I didn’t want to depend on pills alone. I realized I must make permanent lifestyle adjustments. And so I ditched coffee for tea. The first few weeks were tough—especially when I practically lived off coffee—but as soon as my body got used to it, I started seeing significant changes.
My energy level went through the roof
Prior to my disorder, I was your typical young adult who couldn’t function well without coffee. I constantly felt sluggish and grumpy. The latter part of the day I spent staring at the walls in my room, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else but sleep.
After quitting, I expected my energy level to reach an all-time low. But surprisingly, after a month of regularly drinking tea (green tea, to be specific), I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed anymore nor wake up with the alarm blaring through my room. Drinking a cup of tea post-lunch has also turned my afternoons into more productive hours—it helped me catch up on work and do chores around the house.
I feel better about myself
I love coffee—but my digestive system doesn’t, apparently. Besides it being an acid reflux trigger, it could also disrupt the circadian rhythm and increase blood sugar levels (especially for people with diabetes), which are some things I don’t want to deal with while I’m barely 23 years old.
In contrast to coffee, tea could help reduce the risk of premature death, heart-related diseases, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. I hadn’t heard of these possible benefits before I started drinking tea, but once I did my research, the pros have become my main motivation for sticking with tea instead of switching back to coffee. Green tea, especially, contains a lot of antioxidants and polyphenols that can improve overall health when consumed regularly.
My mental focus has improved… a lot
Coffee was a great pick-me-up in the morning as it has high caffeine content, a stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors in the brain responsible for making us feel sleepy. “[But] just because our brain is no longer processing the adenosine doesn’t mean it stops producing it. When the caffeine inevitably wears off, you’re left with an adenosine buildup which makes you feel even more tired,” said a sleep expert.
Drinking tea, however, invigorates my system without putting me in a fog throughout the day. Though tea also contains caffeine, it is combined with other components such as L-theanine, an amino acid which is believed to improve accuracy in multitasking and reduce tiredness.
I’ve become more calm and relaxed
Drinking a cup of tea in the morning and another in the evening gets me more in tune with my surroundings. But on days when I have multiple work meetings and online classes, I drink at least three cups (but experts recommend four to six) to utilize the L-theanine found in most teas. My sister even noticed that my tension level has dropped significantly since I started drinking tea (yes, I get very tense when I’m high on coffee).
Overall, tea isn’t just another hot beverage. It boasts an impressive number of health benefits. Plus, there are thousands of tea varieties, so you don’t have to worry about getting bored of the flavors. A quick reminder though: If your body is fairly tolerant to coffee, then you don’t have to ditch it entirely the way I did. You can enjoy both beverages in moderation to reap their maximum benefits.