Do you rely on coffee to bear with those sluggish afternoons? Or when your boss has given you a deadline, but your sleepy head cannot focus? Warning! You may have become addicted to the caffeine rush (like me).
In case you’ve already figured that out and are trying to cut down on caffeine, give decaf coffee a try. You will still have the feeling of sipping on your cup of joe, minus the caffeine. If you have a habit of drinking coffee at night, switch to decaf. You will see a great improvement in your sleep pattern. Plus, this way, the caffeine withdrawal won’t feel that difficult.
There are a ton of other benefits of drinking decaf coffee that you will find as you scroll through this article. So keep reading!
What Is The Difference Between Drinking Regular Coffee And Decaf Coffee?
The major difference between decaf and regular coffee is in their caffeine percentage. Decaf might not be completely caffeine free, but the little amount of caffeine it has is nothing compared to regular coffee.
According to the National Coffee Association of the USA, an eight-ounce cup of Decaf coffee contains only 2 mg of caffeine compared to a regular cup that has about 95 mg.
However, there is no fixed caffeine range that can help label a coffee as a decaf. The FDA believes that any coffee that has lost at least 97% of its original caffeine content can be called decaf. So if an eight-ounce cup of coffee was giving you 145 mg of caffeine, it should not give more than 4.5 mg of it after the decaffeination process.
Since it takes a lot of processing to decaf a regular bean, an alteration in taste is expected. The processing can also give the beans a slightly more sour profile than regular ones. But it is very mild.
Apart from that, there is not a huge difference in flavor, but you may miss the aromatic burst. Decaf coffee does have a more mellow and lighter fragrance than regular ones. So if you are a coffee enthusiast, you may feel a slight change.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Caffeine?
According to the FDA, a healthy adult can consume up to 400 mg of caffeine daily, which is about four to five cups of regular coffee. However, you should note that they are talking about a completely healthy adult free from chronic illnesses.
Besides, some people can have really low caffeine tolerance. Meaning this amount mentioned above can also be harmful to them.
Why Should You Drink Decaf Coffee? The Hidden Health Benefits
Apart from saving you from those unwanted jitters, decaf coffee also has some amazing health benefits. So let’s take a look at them!
1. Improves Digestive Problems And Detoxes Body
Decaf is not only lighter on our nervous system but on our stomachs as well. It is found that decaf beans are slightly less acidic than regular ones. Meaning they are less likely to cause digestion problems, diarrhea, stomach cramps etc.
Plus, decaf coffee is packed with antioxidants like hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols that help reverse the effects of free radicals.
A cup of decaf coffee can provide 2.4% of recommended daily intake of magnesium and 4.8% and 2.5% of potassium and Vit B3, respectively. So it is fair to say that it also contains a good amount of nutrients.
2. Helps With Stress And Anxiety
Most people realize that they are caffeine-sensitive very late. Being caffeine intolerant does not always mean you jump like a bunny as soon as you sip on coffee. The symptoms can be as subtle as becoming irritable or not being able to focus.
Soon, these mild reactions can escalate to restlessness, palpitations, a thumping heartbeat and, worst of all, the jitters!
3. Reduced Risk Of Acid Reflux
You will find many people complaining about the acid reflux they get after sipping regular coffee or tea, especially if they are diagnosed with GERD.
Since decaf coffee is a low-acid coffee, it is safe for them. Plus, prevention is always better than cure. So you should switch to decaf coffee and keep your habits in check before things go out of hand.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Some of you already know that caffeine has stimulant effects. So as soon as caffeine goes into our blood, our body gets a signal and starts secreting adrenaline.
Adrenaline puts our body in a fight-or-flight mode and increases our heart rate. Now if someone already has a problem with high blood pressure, things will only get worse after this.
So, to not let that happen, it is safer to stick to low-caffeinated decaf coffee and keep our blood pressure in control.
5. Helps Fightback Heart Disease
Drinking loads of caffeine on a daily basis means putting your cardiac muscles on a treadmill. A racing heart is good if you are doing cardio but not when your body wants to relax.
The short-term spikes in blood pressure can even cause a heart attack! So to avoid all that, you need to either break up with your beloved coffee or switch to a low-caffeine option like decaf coffee.
But Is Drinking Decaffeinated Coffee At Night A Good Idea- It Is Still Coffee, Right?
The biggest reason you should avoid coffee close to your bedtime is the caffeine. When caffeine enters our blood, it rushes to the sleep-promoting receptors, blocks them, and stops the sleep-promoting hormones from doing their job.
This keeps happening for four to six hours after you have coffee and can take up to ten hours to completely wear off. Meaning even if you drink coffee at four PM, your body will be in alert mode till ten PM, and your body clock will be messed up.
Hence, it is not just coffee that messes with your sleep, anything with high caffeine content, like tea, matcha, soft drinks or the energy drinks like Redbull, should be avoided in the PM.
Switching to drinks like decaf coffee, which has minimal caffeine, will not have the same effect on your body. So it is okay to drink decaf coffee at night.
How The Bad Beans Are Tuned Into Good Beans- The Journey From Regular To Decaf
You may be thinking about how regular beans are turned into decaf. Are they processed with a lot of chemicals, or are they grown on a completely different tree? Don’t worry; I have the answers to your questions.
Well, there are a couple of ways of doing that, and all of them are quite complex. There are separate specialized companies that only deal in this, and coffee companies usually take their help.
Decaffeination is done on raw coffee cherries before they are dried and roasted. The green cherries are first soaked in water and then dissolved in a solution (usually methylene chloride or ethyl acetate) to prise out the caffeine.
Don’t worry, these chemicals have a clean bill of health from the FDA, so they are completely safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is having decaf coffee good for weight loss?
Decaf coffee helps increase metabolism and burn fat. So it can help you with your weight loss journey.
Is decaf coffee bad for your kidneys?
Decaf coffee does not do damage to a healthy kidney, but if you have critical kidney problems like kidney stones, it will be better to avoid any kind of coffee.
What are some good decaffeinated coffee brands?
Some of the popular decaf coffee brands in the US include Victor Allen’s Coffee, Two Rivers Decaf Coffee Pods, Starbucks Decaf Sumatra Roast, Green Mountains Decaf coffee, Sf Bay Coffee Decaf French etc.
Can I lower the caffeine content of regular coffee at home?
No. Decaffeination is a critical process, and you can’t do it at home. However, you can use decaf or half-caff coffee beans to lower caffeine consumption.
What are the signs of being caffeine sensitive?
Signs of caffeine sensitivity include but are not limited to racing heartbeats, restlessness, insomnia, jitters, cranky moods etc.
So Are You Going Caffeine Free?
If you made a new year’s resolution to be a better and healthier version of yourself, then you need to get a grip on your caffeine addiction. Being a big coffee person myself, I can understand how hard it can get for regular coffee drinkers to avoid having more than one cup a day. But you have to lose some when you want to gain some.
Decaffeinated coffee was the best option for me to enjoy coffee but at the same time decrease my caffeine intake. It will surely take you some time to be happy to drink decaf coffee. But keep reminding yourself about its health benefits, and it should work!