Everywhere you go, whether it is a trendy coffee shop or your local cafe, you will probably see the words “decaf coffee” sitting on the coffee section of the menu. More and more people are starting to look at decaffeinated coffee as a better alternative to regular coffee, whether it is due to health reasons or personal preference. So is decaf coffee really that much better than regular coffee? Let’s take a look, shall we?
What Is Decaf Coffee?
Decaf coffee, also called decaffeinated coffee, refers to coffee that was brewed from beans that had 97% or more of their caffeine removed. This process of removing caffeine from coffee beans is usually done before roasting, and it can be done using carbon dioxide, water, or organic solvents.
Apart from the change in caffeine content, there are a few more differences between decaf and regular coffee. This includes a milder aroma, a softer taste, and a lighter colour.
Is There Caffeine In Decaf Coffee?
Contrary to its name, decaffeinated coffee is not completely free of caffeine. The process of decaffeinating coffee simply greatly reduces the amount of caffeine in coffee.
Based on various studies, the average cup of decaf coffee (180 ml) contains anywhere between 1 to 7 milligrams of caffeine. This is much smaller than the 70 to 140 milligrams of caffeine that can be found in a 180 ml cup of regular coffee.
What Does Decaf Coffee Contain?
Apart from caffeine, decaf coffee also contains a sizable amount of polyphenols and hydroxycinnamic acids, both of which are antioxidants. The antioxidant level might be slightly lower than regular coffee (up to 15% lower), but it still can be a large source of antioxidants for your diet.
Decaf coffee also contains small amounts of healthy nutrients. A standard cup of decaffeinated coffee contains around 2.5% of an average person’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin B3, 2.4% for magnesium, and 4.8% for potassium.
Benefits Of Decaf Coffee
There have not been that many studies on the health benefits of decaf coffee, but based on those that exist, decaf coffee seems to be overall very beneficial for your body:
- Decaf coffee has been linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because decaf coffee improves liver function and reduces its enzyme levels.
- Your chances of suffering from neurodegenerative diseases (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s) can be lowered due to the high levels of chlorogenic acid in decaf.
- Studies have shown that drinking at least 2 cups of decaf coffee per day can reduce your risk of developing rectal cancer by 48%.
- Those suffering from a weak stomach may find themselves suffering less heartburn when drinking decaf compared to when drinking regular coffee.
- Drinking decaf coffee regularly can reduce your risk of developing serious heart diseases including stroke and heart attack. This is caused by the high amount of antioxidants often found in them.
Who Should Choose Decaf Coffee Over Regular Coffee?
The average person’s caffeine threshold is around 400 mg per day (4 cups of regular coffee~). However, there are many people out there who simply cannot ingest that much caffeine. For example; doctors recommend that pregnant women and children should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day.
Those with lower caffeine tolerance may experience a multitude of symptoms (ranging from mild to life – threatening ones) if they consume too much caffeine. These potential symptoms include insomnia, acid reflux, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Thus, this is why people with lower caffeine thresholds should instead opt for decaffeinated coffee rather than regular ones due to their lower caffeine content.