Coffee is among the most loved beverages across the world. Millions of people turn to coffee to boost their energy levels and get through a tough day.
There’re numerous reasons why many people love drinking coffee. Some love it for the quick energy boost that comes with its caffeine ingredient while others consume it for various health benefits.
In fact, coffee is among the most traded commodities across the globe. Also, the coffee industry is extremely competitive. As a result, many coffee shops constantly introduce new ways of enjoying coffee. Among the most notable method of enjoying coffee is drinking decaf coffee.
Unfortunately, mentioning the term “decaf” amongst coffee enthusiasts doesn’t always go well. Decaf coffee has heard its own share of negative reputation from some coffee drinkers.
Some wonder why anyone should bother taking decaf coffee while others argue that it tastes bad.
Decaf coffee has also earned a negative reputation as a result of the chemical process involved when decaffeinating coffee. However, today’s decaffeination methods don’t use toxic solvents. Thus, the final product is safe for consumption.
What many people don’t know is that taking decaf coffee comes with numerous benefits.
Although your doctor might recommend you to switch from regular coffee to decaf coffee, there’re other reasons that make it a worthy beverage. Before discussing its benefits, let’s discuss what decaf coffee means.
What is Decaf Coffee?
Also known as decaffeinated coffee, decaf coffee is not as complicated as it may sound. Essentially, decaf coffee is coffee whose caffeine content is largely removed. Decaffeination removes at least 97 percent of caffeine from coffee beans. Although decaf coffee is almost caffeine-free, it tastes the same as regular coffee.
Decaffeination involves three main techniques including water processing, supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) decaffeination method, and direct solvent method. To start with, water processing is a decaffeination method that works by flushing out caffeine from coffee beans, making it a chemical-free decaffeination method.
On the other hand, the supercritical CO2 decaffeination method uses CO2 as a caffeine extraction solvent. Finally, the direct solvent decaffeination method utilizes a chemical solvent (either ethyl acetate or methylene chloride) to extract caffeine. Although each decaffeination method removes similar caffeine percentages, each method results in decaf coffee with a subtle difference in taste.
Benefits of Drinking Decaf Coffee
Whether your doctor recommends drinking decaf coffee due to its health benefits or you’re having issues with regular coffee, sometimes, decaffeinated coffee would be your best alternative. Although regular coffee is touted for its numerous benefits, drinking decaf coffee also comes with several benefits including:
- Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Coffee is known to reduce the risk of several medical conditions, with caffeine being praised for these benefits. Research also shows that decaf coffee has similar effects. Thus, it’s not only caffeine that reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You can enjoy this benefit without exposing your body system to caffeine. While research is limited on the ingredients in both decaf coffee and regular coffee that contribute to this benefit, the fact is that there’re many more beneficial ingredients in coffee apart from caffeine.
- Reduces Anxiety and Improves Sleep
If you’re feeling tired after a very long night of restlessness, many people will likely recommend you to take coffee. However, the caffeine ingredient in regular coffee is a potent stimulant. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep and cause insomnia in some people. If that’s the case with you, consider switching to decaffeinated coffee. Also, ditching caffeine may assist in reducing anxiety. Thus, avoiding regular coffee and replacing it with decaf coffee can assist in reducing insomnia. Taking decaf coffee works by reducing your caffeine intake while still enjoying the taste that comes with coffee. That way, you’ll have a restful night and wake up feeling energized.
- Contains Beneficial Antioxidants
If you’re drinking coffee just because of its antioxidant properties, switch to decaf coffee to enjoy the benefits of its antioxidant without having to take caffeine. Both decaf coffee and regular coffee contain similar antioxidants. Although decaf coffee has lesser antioxidants as a result of the decaffeination process, the difference is negligible.
- It Has Less Acidity
Coffee has a high acid content. People who have issues with acid, especially heartburn or other uncomfortable issues, add dairy to coffee to reduce its acidic effects. If you have issues with acidic foods and drinks, consider switching to decaffeinated coffee. Decaf coffee has less acidity than regular coffee. The process used in extracting caffeine from coffee beans when making decaf coffee results in reduced acidity. If you’re suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or chronic heartburn, consider switching to decaf coffee. By doing so, you’ll reduce your intake of acidic beverages and food. Consequently, you’ll reduce the side effects that come with excessive acidity such as acid reflux.
- Lowers the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Although regular coffee boasts of reducing the risk of several diseases, recent studies have also shown that drinking decaf may assist in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Consider the fact that caffeine has the potential of worsening heart problems as a result of its potent stimulating effects, replacing caffeinated coffee with decaffeinated coffee can be beneficial to your health, especially if there’s a history of heart problems in your family lineage.
- It Assists In Weight Loss
Decaffeinated coffee has been shown to play a significant role in assisting individuals seeking to cut weight. It has also been shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Decaf coffee contains compounds that help in steady weight reduction, reducing fat production, and regulating blood glucose.
These beneficial compounds are known as chlorogenic acids. These acids are a form of antioxidants. They work by slowing glucose production after taking a meal. As a result, they reduce the development of more fat cells. These acids also work by modifying how some liver enzymes work. Thus, taking decaf after meals will suppress the production of glucose. It’ll also enhance the production of gastric juices, thereby aiding digestion.
- Reduces Cognitive Decline and Protects Brain Health
A recent study shows that drinking decaf coffee protects the brain against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Existing research shows that decaf coffee contains compounds that offer neuroprotection. These compounds work by inhibiting the proteins that form terminally disruptive tangles and clumps, which are found within the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient.
In the research, several coffee compounds were investigated. The compounds were investigated in caffeinated light and dark roasted coffee beans and decaffeinated dark roasted coffee beans. The study analyzed how the compounds present in these coffee beans interact with beta-amyloid and tau, which are toxic proteins associated with developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Afterward, the study assessed phenylindanes, which are chemical compounds formed when roasting coffee beans. Phenylindanes account for the bitterness that comes with coffee. Phenylindanes were found to inhibit beta-amyloid and tau. It’s worth noting that phenylindanes are found in both decaf and caffeinated coffee. Thus, you can avoid the caffeine in regular coffee and still enjoy protection against cognitive decline by taking decaf coffee. Although decaf coffee isn’t a treatment option for cognitive decline, it’s beneficial in preventing cognitive decline.
- Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Research shows that decaf coffee can decrease the risk of developing colorectal cancer. A recent study involving a group of women and men diagnosed with this condition and another group of women and men without any history of this condition were given decaffeinated coffee, instant coffee, and espresso. Their total intake of other drinks was also taken into account. Information about cancer in their family and other factors such as diet, smoking, and physical activity were also taken into account.
Results from the study showed that consuming coffee reduced the risk of getting colorectal cancer. For instance, taking 1 to 2 cups of either decaffeinated or caffeinated coffee per day reduced the likelihood of getting colorectal cancer by 26 percent. Also, taking more than 2.5 cups of either decaffeinated or caffeinated coffee per day reduced the likelihood of getting colorectal cancer by 50 percent.
From this study, it’s clear that caffeine doesn’t matter when it comes to reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Findings from the study show that coffee contains many other beneficial compounds and not just caffeine. Thus, you can switch to decaf coffee and still have a reduced likelihood of getting colorectal cancer.
It’s shown that both caffeinated and decaf coffee contains polyphenol. Polyphenol acts as an antioxidant, which limits the growth and development of cancer cells that cause colorectal cancer. Melanoidins, which is a compound generated when roasting coffee beans, work by boosting colon mobility. Also, another compound known as diterpenes prevents cancer by boosting the body’s defense against oxidative stress and damage.
Decaf coffee, on many occasions, has been labeled as a coffee drink full of toxic chemicals. Since it’s almost caffeine-free, it’s seen as pointless to drink it. As such, caffeinated coffee is a favorite beverage for many coffee drinkers. However, research on decaf coffee shows that it’s equally beneficial as caffeinated coffee. In fact, it offers a healthy, caffeine-free experience, especially for individuals who don’t tolerate caffeine intake. While decaf is less popular than regular coffee, it tastes as good as caffeinated coffee. Besides, you can easily find decaf from your local grocery store or coffeehouse.
Although regular coffee is touted to offer numerous health benefits, decaffeinated coffee has equally been proven to offer numerous health benefits. Besides, there’re numerous reasons why coffee lovers should switch to decaffeinated coffee. Even if you’re not affected by caffeine, you can switch to decaf and still enjoy its numerous benefits.