Is Decaf Actually a Healthier Coffee Option?
For some people, a morning cup of coffee is the only way to start the day. Whether it's a robust ristretto or a refreshing iced latte, coffee has become a huge part of our daily lives. It's not without its downsides though—with anxiety, crashes in energy and interrupted sleep common side effects people experience as a result of drinking too much. That's where decaf comes in, the decaffeinated cousin of your favourite brew. Promising the same delicious (and addictive) taste you're used to with a fraction of the caffeine, decaf coffee often gets painted in a healthier light, but is it actually better for us? Well, sort of.
To remove the caffeine from unroasted coffee beans, manufacturers need to either soak or steam them in water and any of the following chemicals:
- activated charcoal
- supercritical carbon dioxide
- methylene chloride
- ethyl acetate
While the names of the chemicals above look more like products from a mechanic's workshop than edible ingredients, a 2017 study reveals that there doesn't seem to be any harmful health effects from the decaffeination process. If you'd rather steer clear of these chemical methods altogether though, opt for an organic, solvent-free blend so you can sip away in peace.
So, what's healthier—regular or decaf? Unfortunately, the answer isn't so black and white. Coffee and its plethora of antioxidants is often seen as a healthy beverage that's been shown to protect neurons and help prevent diseases. Likewise, decaf has its own benefits, including a lower mortality rate due to its ability to reduce factors such as inflammation and depression. What decaf coffee is able to to best though, is reduce the negative side effects of regular coffee, namely anxiety, fatigue and sleep deprivation.
In this instance, decaf coffee is a healthier option for anyone who enjoys a daily cup but is hindered by the common health effects that come along with it. It all depends on your own reaction to caffeine and the way it makes you feel. It could be worth giving it a go the next time you order a coffee, and if you're concerned with the way it's made, ask your barista if there's an organic option for you. Whether you prefer regular or decaf, the best news is that everyone can enjoy the heavenly aroma and taste of coffee.