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Health Benefits of Decaf

One of the biggest reasons many of us drink decaf coffee is its positive health effects. This feels especially true today, as we’re more focused than ever on the health benefits of what we drink. Just think of the rise of reishi tea, adaptogens, or CBD seltzer. 

The question remains, however, what exactly are the health benefits of drinking decaffeinated coffee? Fortunately, the bottom line is that decaf retains most of the positive effects of caffeinated coffee. While it doesn’t contain a handful of the positives associated with caffeine alone, it also offers new health benefits of its own.

Pop Art decaf coffee cups

Shared Health Benefits of Decaf & Caffeinated Coffee

Today, the health benefits of coffee are well known. Decaf coffee shares almost all of the benefits of caffeinated coffee. Research shows that decaf might lose up to 15% of the antioxidants found in coffee beans, though this still leaves plenty of healthy antioxidants in the decaf beans.

For starters, decaf is rich in ​​hydroxycinnamic acids and polyphenols. These antioxidants are known for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compounds. The rich antioxidants found in coffee are also linked to the prevention of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

Coffee is also linked to increased liver health. Less research currently exists on if decaf coffee has the same effect on liver health as caffeinated coffee, but at least one study shows that decaf consumption is linked to decreased liver enzyme levels. This points to decaf having a similar effect.

Coffee is also known for fighting late-life mental decline. A study shows that this comes from the chlorogenic acid in coffee, which is retained in decaffeinated coffee beans. More broadly, a CAIDE study (meaning a study on Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia) found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily was associated with a 65% decreased risk of dementia in late-life. 

Coffee is also notable for how frequently it is drunk. A 2011 study found that coffee was the highest source of antioxidants in the western diet. Because these antioxidants largely translate to decaf coffee as well, this will likely hold true of a habitual decaf drinker as well.

While we list the healthy attributes of coffee, I feel the need to add that this should not be taken as medical advice. In the same breath, it’s important to remember that while coffee has clear health benefits, it should not be taken as medicine or used in place of doctor-recommended procedures or medications. Still, we’re always happy to report on the benefits decaf offers!

Health Benefits that Decaf Lacks

Naturally, we love decaf over here at DecafLife – we made a whole site about how much we love it! But even with heavy hearts, we’re duty-bound to report that decaf lacks a few positive medical benefits that come from caffeine itself. 

For one, caffeine consumption is linked to lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine has also been connected to increased metabolic rate and more efficient fat burning. These specific benefits are lost when the caffeine content is removed from coffee beans.

That said, there are also a few benefits to drinking coffee without caffeine as well.

Health Benefits Of Decaf Specifically

There’s an obvious health benefit inherent only to decaf coffee: it lacks caffeine. Though caffeine has its fair share of positive medical effects, it also has its own negatives. These may outway the positives of caffeine consumption, depending on the person. 

One of the many reasons people give up caffeine is because it can exacerbate anxiety. For someone already experiencing an anxiety disorder, caffeine can lead to greater risk of panic attacks or sustained anxiety. Decaf, on the other hand, has shown no link to increased anxiety. 

Caffeine is associated with high blood pressure as well. The Mayo Clinic holds that, for some patients, regular caffeine intake can lead to sustained high blood pressure

Something that really surprised me while researching this article is that caffeine can lead to an increase in migraines. As anyone who suffers from migraines will know, caffeine is frequently used as a treatment for migraine symptoms. The pain reliever Excedrin, which markets a specific migrain product, proudly touts that it contains caffeine. It is true that caffeine can help alleviate pain while experiencing a migraine. At the same time, however, studies have shown that long term caffeine use has actually increased migraine frequency in a small but notable group of patients.

Last Thoughts

Overall, the facts show that decaf contains numerous health benefits. Yes, it may lose out on a few benefits of its caffeinated cousin, but it contains a long list of identical benefits. For someone looking to cut caffeine out of their life, decaf will provide you with the rich antioxidants that coffee is known for, while offering you new health benefits through its lack of caffeine. 

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