What is Decaf Coffee?
Decaf is the short name for coffee that has been decaffeinated. It is coffee from coffee beans that have lost at least 97% of their caffeine. There are several ways for coffee beans to eliminate caffeine. Water, organic solvents, or carbon dioxide are mostly included. In the solvent, coffee beans are washed until the caffeine has been absorbed, then the solvent is removed. Using carbon dioxide or a charcoal filter, a technique known as the Swiss Water Method, caffeine may also be extracted. Before they’re roasted and ground, the beans are decaffeinated. Apart from the caffeine content, the nutritional value of decaf coffee should be almost the same as regular coffee.
How much caffeine does decaf coffee contain?
Decaf coffee is not entirely free from caffeine. In fact, it contains different amounts of caffeine, typically around 3 mg per cup. One study showed that 0-7 mg of caffeine was found in every 6 ounces (180 mL) cup of decaf. On the other hand, depending on the form of coffee, preparation process, and cup size, an average cup of regular coffee contains around 70–140 mg of caffeine. So, even though decaf is not entirely free of caffeine, there is typically a very small amount of caffeine.
Decaf coffee contains nutrients and is filled with antioxidants
- Coffee is not the demon that it was made out to be.
- In fact, it is the single major source of antioxidants in the Western diet.
- Decaf normally contains antioxidants similar to regular coffee, but they can be up to 15 percent lower than regular coffee.
- This distinction is most likely due to a slight loss of antioxidants during the process of decaffeination.
- Hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols are the primary antioxidants in standard and decaf coffee.
- To neutralize reactive compounds called free radicals, antioxidants are very effective.
- It decreases oxidative damage and can help to reduce heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- Decaf also contains small quantities of certain nutrients, in addition to antioxidants.
- 2.4 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 4.8 percent of potassium, and 2.5 percent of niacin or vitamin B3 is given by one cup of brewed decaf coffee.
- This might not sound like a lot of nutrients, but if you drink 2-3 (or more) cups of coffee per day, the quantity adds up quickly.
Benefits of Decaf Coffee
- The fact is, coffee is most healthy for you, despite having been demonized in the past.
- It is associated with many health benefits, primarily due to its antioxidant content and other active substances.
- It can be difficult to determine the exact health effects of decaf coffee, however.
- This is because, without distinguishing between standard and decaf coffee, most studies measure coffee consumption, and some don’t even consider decaf coffee.
- Some of these studies are also retrospective, too. They can not prove that the benefits were caused by coffee, only that drinking coffee is related to them.
Diabetes type 2, the function of the liver, and premature death
A decreased risk of type 2 diabetes has been associated with consuming coffee, both standard, and decaf. Every regular cup can reduce the risk by up to 7%. This indicates that these protective effects may be due to elements other than caffeine. The effects of decaf coffee are not as well studied as those of standard coffee on liver function. One major observational research, however, associated decaf coffee with decreased levels of liver enzymes, suggesting a protective effect. A minor but substantial decrease in the risk of premature death, as well as death from stroke or heart disease, has also been associated with drinking decaf coffee.
Aging and disorders that are neurodegenerative
Daily and decaf coffee also appears to have beneficial effects on the mental deterioration associated with age. Studies of human cells also suggest that decaf coffee can protect the brain’s neurons. This may help prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s from emerging. One research indicates that, rather than caffeine, this could be due to the chlorogenic acid in coffee. However, a decreased risk of dementia and neurodegenerative disorders has also been related to caffeine itself. Many studies indicate that individuals who drink regular coffee have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but more detailed studies on decaf are required.
Reduces heartburn symptoms and decreases risk of rectal cancer
Heartburn or acid reflux is one common side effect of drinking coffee. This condition is experienced by many individuals, and drinking decaf coffee can alleviate this uncomfortable side effect. Decaf coffee has been shown to cause much less reflux of acid than standard coffee. Up to 48 percent, lower risk of developing rectal cancer has also been associated with consuming two or more cups of decaf coffee a day.
Who should prefer decaf over regular coffee?
- There is a great deal of human variability when it comes to caffeine tolerance. One cup of coffee may be excessive for some individuals, while others might feel better with more.
- Although individual tolerance can vary, over 400 mg of caffeine per day should be avoided by healthy adults. This is approximately the size of four coffee cups.
- Increased intake can lead to higher blood pressure and a lack of sleep, which can raise the risk of stroke and heart disease.
- The central nervous system can often be overloaded by excess caffeine, causing restlessness, anxiety, digestive issues, heart arrhythmia, or sleep problems in sensitive individuals.
- People who are very prone to caffeine may want to reduce their daily coffee consumption or turn to decaf or tea.
- Caffeine-restricted diets can also be requested by those with certain medical conditions. This involves individuals who take prescription drugs that can interfere with caffeine.
- Furthermore, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to limit their intake of caffeine. Youngsters, children, and people struggling with anxiety or who have difficulty sleeping are also encouraged to do so.
Is decaf bad for health?
201 meta-analyses of observational studies into coffee consumption is analyzed by one 2017 report. The authors concluded that decaf coffee does not seem to have any detrimental effects on wellbeing.
The use of methylene chloride in the decaffeination process, however, has caused some concern among coffee group members and some customers.
Inhaling even small quantities of methylene chloride in the air, around 200 parts per million (ppm), can temporarily slow down the central nervous system and impair the concentration and hand-eye coordination of an individual. Mild exposure can also contribute to symptoms such as:
- Wheezing or coughing
As long as the final product contains no more than 10 ppm, or 0.001 percent, of residual methylene chloride, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of methylene chloride in the caffeine extraction process.
Decaf Coffee or Regular Coffee?
Decaf coffee is a milder drink that has a milder flavor and aroma, and less caffeine, of course. For those who do not really like the bitter taste and the heavy, pungent smell of regular coffee, it is an ideal option. The lack of caffeine negates the whole goal of drinking coffee. Because of its high caffeine content, coffee works as a wake-up booster. A few cups of coffee a day doesn’t mean any harm. If someone is addicted to coffee, however, and has a habit of consuming more than a few cups of coffee a day, switching to decaf coffee may be the solution to decrease caffeine consumption while satisfying cravings. People who regularly suffer from acidity can also go for decaf coffee as well as decaf coffee. Individuals who often suffer from acidity should also go for decaf coffee as caffeine appears to increase the influx of acid.
Decaf coffee contains very little caffeine and appears to be equivalent to standard coffee in taste and appearance. Some individuals have expressed concern that very small quantities of methylene chloride could be present in decaffeinated coffee, which is one of the solvents that manufacturers use during the decaffeination process. Prolonged exposure to this chemical can cause side effects that are unpleasant.
However, the FDA does not think that this poses a health risk and specifically restricts the concentration of methylene chloride to below 10 ppm in decaf coffee. Research also shows that it is not harmful to drink decaf coffee and can potentially have some health benefits.
It can cause headache, confusion, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fatigue at higher doses, and has been shown to cause cancer of the liver and lungs in animals. The FDA concluded, however, in 1999 that the trace quantities you get in decaf coffee are too small to affect your health.