Is Decaf Coffee a Healthier Choice than Regular Coffee?

Is Decaf Coffee a Healthier Choice than Regular Coffee?

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Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. There are numerous speculations about the associated benefits and risks. The drink promotes health due to its richness in caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ), etc. (1).

Caffeine is the major component of coffee. There are both pros and cons of this compound. The moderate intake does not make any serious health hazard, but children and aged women are found to be at risk, and it can even double the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy (2,3).

Another study suggests that caffeine can cause anxiety in a normal individual and can worsen the condition of the people with psychiatric symptoms (4). It is clear that there is no strong evidence stating whether caffeine is useful or harmful.

But, there are numerous benefits of coffee like maintenance of bone density due to the presence of many bioactive compounds (5). It can effectively reduce the risk of osteoporosis, as well.

So, it is practically impossible to totally eliminate coffee from the diet. Then, what can be done? Well, you have a simple solution. Just start consuming “decaf coffee” or “decaffeinated coffee” in place of the regular one to avail the benefits of this amazing beverage without its repercussions. Let’s discuss in detail what is decaf coffee? How is it prepared? What are the advantages, components of the drink?

How is Decaf Coffee Made?

Decaffeination refers to the removal of caffeine from edibles and other material. But the process of removal varies in different products.

There are different kinds of coffee beans that are available. Some of them have a low level of caffeine, naturally. The beans must be treated either chemically or the process of solubility and osmosis must be used in order to reduce the content below 1%.

There are many methods by which the coffee beans can be treated like Swiss water process, direct method, indirect method, carbon dioxide method, and Roselius method (6).

How Much Caffeine is there in Decaffeinated Coffee?

If you are wondering about how much caffeine in decaf coffee is present? Then, let us tell you that coffee is not 100% caffeine free and it does contain some amount of it. Some clinical experiments performed on the samples of decaffeinated coffee show that one serving of 16 oz contains up to 13.9 mg of caffeine in it (7).

The amount of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee is low, but if you are trying to eliminate it completely, you should not consume this coffee (8).

Is Decaf Coffee Actually Beneficial?

Decaffeinated coffee has loads of properties. It has all the components of regular coffee like polyphenols (9), other antioxidants, and bioactive compounds; except protein. Both types of coffee offer some wonderful advantages, like reduced suicidal tendencies among women and many more (10).

Apart from these, there are certain cons of the coffee i.e., the health benefits related to caffeine are not provided by this coffee. Some of the diseases, like Parkinson can be cured with caffeine according to some of the evidence (11).

Caffeine also has a positive effect on memory, performance, learning, and coordination (12). Regular coffee also decreases the risk of depression among women (13). It also improves the athlete’s performance considerably. The other uses of caffeine are the lower risk of liver cirrhosis, increased metabolic rate, etc. (14, 15, 16).

Note: If an athlete uses caffeine, he must first check the tolerance to the methylxanthine (17).

Advantages of Decaffeinated Coffee

This amazing drink has a lot to offer. Daily intake of this coffee provides a lot of health benefits. Due to these below-mentioned advantages, it can be said that decaf is the best coffee to consume.

1. Prevents Diabetes

The most important benefit of this coffee is its ability to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes (18). Consumption of decaf coffee significantly increases the level of insulin in our body, which is essential for the people suffering from diabetes (19).

Another study reveals that the incidence of diabetes can be reduced by 7% while intaking this coffee (20).

Moreover, the consumption can also reduce the risk related to deterioration of glucose (21). A compound chlorogenic acid is found to be responsible for this effect (22).

So, you can consume a few cups of coffee daily to decrease the incidence of diabetes.

2. Decreases the Risk of Chronic Diseases and Aging

Studies have proved that consuming 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases and cognitive and motor skill deficiency in aging (23).

3. Treats Neurodegenerative Disorders

The decaffeinated coffee has all the active compounds like a regular coffee. Several trials have shown that the coffee can reduce the oxidative neuronal death and inhibits H₂O₂-induced apoptotic nuclear condensation due to the presence of active components (24).

It is also effective in reducing the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease (25). But, the effect can be increased and the onset can be delayed if caffeine is present in the diet (26).

Even if you are not suffering from these disorders, you will be at lower risk of developing their symptoms if you drink this beverage regularly.

4. Beneficial for Stomach Disorders

The disorders related to esophagus and stomach like gastro-esophageal reflux (heartburn) can also be regulated with the consumption of decaf coffee (27).

It has also been proved that caffeine is not responsible for this effect. So, it is implied that this is attributed to other components present in the coffee (28).

5. Protects Against Colon Cancer

Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases these days. Many people are falling prey to different kinds of this disease every day, out of which, colon cancer is the type in which malignant cell is formed in the tissue of colon (29).

It is found that decaf coffee can be useful for colon cancer and decreases the proximal tumor (30), whereas coffee with caffeine is not effective for the same (31). Another study reveals that more the amount of coffee, lower the risk of this cancer (32).

6. Cures Liver Diseases

Consumption of coffee reduces the harmful liver enzymes. It’s found that caffeine is not the compound that shows this property. There is no clear evidence of decaf coffee showing the same result as regular coffee, but it may help (33).

The intake of this coffee might also be effective against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but there is a lack of proper research (34).

7. Heals Gout Disease

Gout is another common disease from which many people are suffering, and many are at a constant risk. Some of the trials indicate that consumption of coffee decreases the risk of gout disease, and the effect is not related to the presence of caffeine. Therefore, decaf coffee can diminish the risk of gout (35).

Can Decaf Coffee Cause Any Health Implications?

There are several health implications that are associated with the excessive consumption of the decaffeinated coffee. One of the major health-risk is that the coffee increases the lipids level in the blood, and hence, it increases the risk of heart diseases (36).

Similar to regular coffee, it can also increase the amount of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body if taken in excess, which is harmful (37, 38).

People who consume more than 4 cups of decaf coffee were found to be at a greater risk of rheumatoid arthritis according to a test (39).

Another health implication associated with the decaf coffee is inhibition of iron in the body (40, 41).

So, if you notice any of the symptoms or your doctor has advised you to eliminate coffee completely, then you should find an alternate to it.

Conclusion

People who wish to eliminate caffeine from their diet or are sensitive to it can go for decaf coffee without giving it a second thought.

Pregnant women, children, and patients suffering from anxiety are advised to get rid of caffeine, as it can cause trouble. Decaf coffee is the best choice for such people (42).

Though the iron absorption is inhibited by some compounds in decaf coffee, it is compensated by the polyphenols, which has the capacity to bind iron (43).

So, this coffee has a lot to offer and is actually good for people who are not allergic to the compounds present in it. But, since there are several health implications too, an individual must check the amount of intake and make sure to not consume it in excess.

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