Caffeine is basically a stimulant. Indeed, it is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Many people avoid it due to the effects on pregnancy, restlessness, or sleep, but others need their morning coffee to stay focused and functional. Handily, scientists and experts have invented a few techniques to remove caffeine coffee. But is there any benefit of doing this? Let’s take a look at several reasons why people drink decaf coffee.
Overview of decaf coffee
Decaf or decaffeinated coffee is self-exploratory. It is made from coffee beans that are removed at least 97 per cent of the caffeine content. There are many approaches to achieve this goal. Most methods involve the use of organic solvents, carbon dioxide, or water.
Companies can use a charcoal filter or carbon dioxide to remove caffeine. Another option is to wash the beans in a solvent until it extracts all of the caffeine. The beans should be decaffeinated before the process of roasting and grinding.
Except for the caffeine levels, the nutritional value of decaf coffee is basically not different from that of regular coffee. Nevertheless, the smell and taste can be a bit milder. The colour might also change. These differences make this type more pleasing to those people who do not like the bitter aroma and taste of regular coffee.
Low caffeine levels
An obvious reason why many people choose decaf coffee is the low level of caffeine, one of the most commonly used stimulants in the world. The substance can help us start a new day with better alertness and reduced tiredness.
However, some individuals can be sensitive or allergic. Even consuming a small amount of coffee can make them feel anxious, depressed, or have difficulty sleeping.
At least 97 per cent of caffeine is removed during the decaf process. The exact amount can vary, depending on the brands, types of coffee beans, and methods.
An average cup of decaf coffee contains between 2 and 3 milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, a typical cup of regular coffee has around 70 to 140 milligrams of caffeine.
So, even when decaf processes do not remove caffeine completely, the amount is very small. If you love coffee but want to restrict caffeine intake, no option can be better.
Nutrients and antioxidants in decaf coffee
Both decaf and regular coffee contain a lot of antioxidants. Surprise? Indeed, this drink is one of the biggest sources in the diet to take in these essential substances.
The main antioxidants in decaf coffee include polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids. They play a key role in neutralizing free radicals. This eventually helps minimize oxidative damage and reduce the risk of many health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
In addition to antioxidants, there are many other important nutrients in decaf coffee. These include vitamin B3, potassium, niacin, and magnesium. The amount can vary, depending on the types of coffee beans.
Does decaf coffee taste good?
The answer to this question can be subjective. However, many people agree that decaf coffee tastes really good. While most of the caffeine is removed, other essential components are still retained. They make a significant contribution to the overall aroma and taste of the drink.
Just a few decades ago, decaf coffee was equivalent to low-quality coffee. It had a bad reputation for being full of chemicals and tasting bitter. But thanks to new methods, most companies can complete the process without leaving most of the important substances in the beans intact.
Health benefits of decaf coffee
Decaf coffee can provide us with many health benefits. Most of these are primarily associated with its active substances and antioxidant content.
Neurodegenerative and age-related diseases
Many studies have shown positive effects of decaf coffee on the mental decline in the elderly. The drink can protect neurons in the central nervous system and the brain.
This eventually reduces the risk of common neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The effect can be attributed to the chlorogenic acid in decaf coffee.
Liver function and type 2 diabetes
Decaf coffee can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. This effect can be attributed to some antioxidants in the drink. In addition, it provides some protective benefits to the liver. Those people who consume decaf regularly can have reduced levels of liver enzyme, thus improving the functions of this essential organ.
The risk of premature death is also lower in decaf coffee drinker. This is because coffee can help people prevent heart disease or stroke from developing.
Improved heartburn symptoms
Acid reflux or heartburn is a common side effect of consuming regular coffee. Fortunately, decaf coffee can be effective in relieving this uncomfortable issue. Some studies have suggested that it can trigger noticeably less acid reflux than other products with high caffeine content.
Antioxidants in decaf coffee can neutralize free radical and minimize oxidative damage. Therefore, drinking the beverage regular would significantly reduce the risks of developing some forms of cancer.
These include oral cancer, rectal cancer, endometrial cancer, leukaemia, liver cancer, skin cancer, and prostate cancer.
Who should choose decaf coffee?
There can be lots of individual differences in terms of caffeine tolerance. For some people, drinking five cups or more is normal, while for others even one cup might be excessive.
Some people are sensitive to common side effects of the substance, such as digestive issues, anxiety, restlessness, trouble sleeping, or heart arrhythmia. In these cases, decaf coffee can be a great option.
Those with some medical conditions may require a caffeine-limited diet as well. This includes patients who take prescription drugs that would interact with caffeine. Also, people with anxiety disorders and insomnia should change from regular coffee to the decaf version.
Additionally, breastfeeding and pregnant women should restrict their caffeine consumption. Depending on your health, the doctor might have specific advice to avoid crossing the borderline.
The bottom line
Low caffeine content is the most important reason why many people choose decaf coffee. More importantly, it can also offer several health benefits thanks to a number of antioxidants and nutrients.
From pregnant women to caffeine-sensitive people, decaf coffee can be a great alternative to enjoy coffee without worrying about harmful side effects on your body.