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Decaf Coffee: Good or Bad?

Decaf is short for decaffeinated coffee. It’s coffee from coffee beans that have had at least 97% of their caffeine removed. There are many ways to remove caffeine from coffee beans. Most of them include water, organic solvents, or carbon dioxide. Coffee beans are washed in the solvent until the caffeine has been extracted from it, then the solvent is removed.

Caffeine can also be removed using carbon dioxide or a charcoal filter — a method known as the Swiss Water Process. The beans are decaffeinated before they’re roasted and ground. The nutritional value of decaf coffee should be almost identical to regular coffee, apart from the caffeine content. However, the taste and smell may become a little milder, and the colour may change, depending on the method used. This can make decaf coffee more pleasing to those who are sensitive to the bitter taste and smell of regular coffee.

Some people drink coffee for the rich flavours. Others drink coffee for the much-needed pick me up to start their day. Whatever your reason may be, coffee has become a fundamental aspect in today's society. You cannot walk around the city without seeing a coffee shop on every block.

How much caffeine is in decaf coffee?

Decaf coffee is not completely caffeine-free.

It actually contains varying amounts of caffeine, usually about 3 mg per cup. On the other hand, an average cup of regular coffee contains about 70–140 mg of caffeine, depending on the coffee type, preparation method, and cup size

Health benefits of decaf coffee

The main antioxidants in regular and decaf coffees are hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols. Antioxidants are very effective at neutralizing reactive compounds called free radicals. This reduces oxidative damage and may help prevent diseases like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. In addition to the antioxidants, decaf also contains minor amounts of some nutrients. One cup of brewed decaf coffee provides 2.4% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 4.8% of potassium, and 2.5% of niacin, or vitamin B3. This may not seem like a lot of nutrients, but the amounts add up quickly if you drink 2–3 (or more) cups of coffee per day. Decaf coffee has been shown to cause significantly less acid reflux than regular coffee.

Drinking coffee, both regular and decaf has been linked with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Each daily cup may reduce the risk of up to 7%. One large observational study linked decaf coffee with reduced liver enzyme levels, which suggests a protective effect. Drinking decaf coffee has also been linked with a small but significant reduction in the risk of premature death, as well as death from stroke or heart disease. Additionally, decaf coffee seems to have positive effects on age-related mental decline. Human cell studies also show that decaf coffee may protect neurons in the brain. This could help prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Drinking two or more cups of decaf coffee per day has also been linked with up to a 48% lower risk of developing rectal cancer.

Who should choose decaf over regular coffee?

There’s a lot of individual variabilities when it comes to tolerance for caffeine. For some people, one cup of coffee can be excessive, while others may feel fine with more. While individual tolerance may vary, healthy adults should avoid over 400 mg of caffeine per day. This is roughly the equivalent of four cups of coffee.

  • Increased consumption can lead to increased blood pressure and lack of sleep, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Excess caffeine may also overwhelm the central nervous system, cause restlessness, anxiety, digestive problems, heart arrhythmia, or trouble sleeping in sensitive individuals.

  • People who are very sensitive to caffeine may want to limit their intake of regular coffee or switch over to decaf or tea.

  • Those with certain medical conditions may also require caffeine-restricted diets. This includes people who are taking prescription medications that can interact with caffeine.

  • Additionally, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to limit their caffeine intake. Children, adolescents, and individuals diagnosed with anxiety or who have trouble sleeping are advised to do so as well.

Decaf is an excellent way to enjoy coffee without the side effects of too much caffeine. Happy brewing!

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Source(s): healthline, spoonuniversity

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