Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, with millions turning to this caffeinated beverage to get them through the day. There are many reasons people drink coffee, and it’s no surprise since it’s chock full of health benefits. Whether it’s for the caffeine jolt or the possible health benefits, it’s safe to say that coffee will remain popular for years to come. It’s one of the most competitive industries as well, so it’s no wonder coffee shops are constantly introducing new ways to enjoy it.
Yet when the word “decaf” is mentioned amongst coffee lovers, it’s as if the world might end. Decaf coffee has a seriously negative reputation, even amongst the one-a-day coffee drinkers. Many people wonder what the point is to drinking decaf while others swear that it tastes worse than regular coffee. Part of the problem is that decaf coffee is chemically treated and has a history of using toxic chemicals for the decaffeination process, creating a negative connotation around the name.
However, those dangerous solvents are no longer used and the end result is much safer to consume today. There are plenty of reasons why someone would switch to decaf, but it’s mostly due to a doctor’s recommendation. But, before going into why decaf can be a great, healthy addition to your daily routine, let’s look at what decaf coffee really is:
What is Decaf, Anyway?
Decaf coffee may sound like a GMO product with scary connotations attached, but it’s much simpler than that. The decaffeination of coffee is the process of extracting the caffeine out of normal coffee beans using various different processes, resulting in a tasty, nearly caffeine-free coffee product. There are three main methods of decaffeinating coffee: water processing, direct solvent method, and supercritical carbon dioxide decaffeination method.
The water processing method uses water to flush out the caffeine, making it completely chemical-free. The direct solvent method uses a chemical solvent (usually methylene chloride or ethyl acetate) to extract the caffeine. Finally, the supercritical carbon dioxide decaffeination method uses carbon dioxide as a solvent to extract the caffeine. While each method extracts similar percentages of caffeine, each method has a subtle taste difference.
Although decaf coffee may be processed to get the end result, it’s important to remember that regular coffee beans are as well. Aside from the slight taste difference, swapping regular coffee for decaf can benefit you in the long run. Whether it’s due to a doctor’s recommendation or getting the jitters too often, sometimes decaf coffee is the way to go. And, while you may hear that regular coffee has more benefits, that shouldn’t deter you from trying some decaf in the morning.
5 Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee:
1. Decaf Coffee May Help Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Coffee has been known for its ability to lower multiple conditions, but it has always been chalked up to the caffeine itself. However, decaf has been shown in a few studies to have similar effects, meaning that it’s not just the caffeine that lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, it could be said that decaf coffee can be just as beneficial as regular coffee, without having to expose yourself to caffeine on a daily basis. While they’re not sure what is exactly causing these effects in both regular and decaf, the fact that it’s not solely the caffeine is an important finding to decaf drinkers everywhere.
2. Less Caffeine Can Improve Sleep and Lower Anxiety
Coffee is often the first thing suggested when someone is tired in the morning, especially after a long and restless night. However, caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can wreak havoc to your sleep, causing bouts of insomnia. Switching to decaf can help reduce insomnia that may be caused by too much caffeine, which will then improve your overall energy in the morning. Ditching caffeine can also help lower anxiety, especially in individuals that suffer from anxiety disorders.
3. Decaf Coffee Contains the Same Antioxidants in Regular Coffee
For those drinking coffee strictly for antioxidants, the switch to decaf should be an easy one because it still contains the same antioxidants as regular coffee. However, it should be noted that decaf has a slightly lower amount of these antioxidants, possibly due to the caffeine extraction process. Regardless, this means that those who have been chugging the world’s most used drug for health reasons can confidently switch to decaf.
4. Decaf Coffee is Lower in Acidity than Regular Coffee
Coffee is quite acidic and is often mixed with dairy to help reduce the acidic effects, but it can often lead to heartburn and other uncomfortable side effects. One major benefit of decaf coffee is the lower acidic content, which is usually due to the decaffeination process. For those that suffer from chronic heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), switching to decaf coffee to lower the number of acidic foods daily can help reduce flare-ups of acid reflux and other side effects.
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5. Decaf Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases
While regular coffee is often lauded for lowering the risk of multiple diseases and conditions, a recent study has shown that decaf may help reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. Since caffeine can worsen heart problems due to its stimulating effects, swapping your caffeinated java for some decaf may be better for your health if your family history is prone to heart problems.
Final Thoughts on Decaf Coffee
Decaf coffee has gone through the wringer, often being called pointless or “full of chemicals”. While regular coffee is the clear favorite amongst coffee drinkers, decaf coffee shouldn’t be shunned right away. It has a place in the coffee industry regardless of its toxic and rocky past, offering millions a caffeine-free coffee experience. Although it’s not as popular as regular coffee, decaf is readily available and can taste just like regular coffee.
While regular coffee may have a long list of health benefits, decaf coffee is passed up too often as a possible “healthy” beverage. There are many reasons to switch to decaf, especially if an individual is prone to conditions triggered by caffeine intake. For those who can no longer have caffeine, decaf coffee is a great alternative. Even for those who don’t have any health problems, decaf coffee can help improve your energy and mood in the long run simply by getting rid of the need for caffeine.
Decaf is a great caffeine alternative for die-hard coffee drinkers, regardless of the reason to switch. Although it will never truly replace regular coffee as the go-to for most people, decaf can still bring happiness in your cup each morning. Except for some benefits that actual caffeine offers, switching to decaf coffee will still give you the benefits that a regular cup of joe has.
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Table of Contents
- What is Decaf, Anyway?
- 5 Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee:
- Final Thoughts on Decaf Coffee