Are you a coffee lover that likes to start your day with a cup of instant coffee? If so, you’re not alone – instant coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It is convenient, easy to make, and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Instant coffee is a great time-saving method of preparing a cup of black coffee when it is not possible, or you don’t have the time, to use traditional ground coffee beans.
Although you might be aware that drinking regular coffee has numerous health advantages, you may be wondering whether the same benefits apply to instant coffee drinks. Are you sacrificing your long-term health for convenience?
We, that’s what we’re here to discuss! Let’s talk about what instant coffee is made from, the nutrients it contains, and the reasons it might be good for you. We will also look at some of the potential health risks and health benefits associated with drinking this popular coffee beverage.
What is instant coffee?
Instant coffee is a beverage made from a dried extract of fresh coffee. To make it, fresh-roasted coffee beans are ground into a fine powder. The beans are brewed and then the water is removed from the concentrated coffee extract, and dry fragments or dry powder are created. Both of these are designed to dissolve when added to hot water.
Instant coffee powder is made using either a freeze-drying or spray drying process. Freeze-drying is a process in which the freshly-brewed coffee is frozen and then placed in a vacuum. This causes the ice to sublimate or turn from a solid state into a gas. The water molecules are removed, and the product is dried.
Spray drying is similar but uses hot air instead of a vacuum. The coffee extract is sprayed into a heated chamber where the water evaporates, and the coffee dries into instant coffee granules.
Both of these techniques result in a powdered coffee that can be easily reconstituted by mixing the instant coffee with water while preserving the drink’s taste, aroma, and quality. Plus, there are many different types of instant coffee. You can get light roast, dark roast, decaf, and various flavors like vanilla and hazelnut, which can really ramp up your instant coffee experience.
What nutrients does instant coffee contain?
So, now that we know the process of creating instant coffee, you might be wondering if all that freezing and drying is just sapping any nutritional value out of your coffee grounds.
Well, we’re pleased to announce that, nope, it doesn’t! Instant coffee is actually a great source of antioxidants and vitamins. In fact, a cup of coffee is one of the most significant sources of antioxidants in the modern diet, and instant is no exception. According to one study, instant coffee may contain higher antioxidant content than other brews due to its preparation method.
Instant coffee also contains many vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin), potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
What Is Acrylamide in Instant Coffee?
Okay, so now here’s the downside of instant coffee. It contains a substance called acrylamide. This harmful chemical forms when foods are cooked at high temperatures, such as frying, baking, or, in this case, roasting regular coffee beans. This food contaminant is also commonly found in various other foods, household products, and even personal care items.
Surprisingly, instant coffee has been found to have up to twice the concentration of acrylamide as freshly ground coffee. This is because the high temperatures used in the manufacturing process create a higher level of the chemical.
So, should you stop drinking instant coffee because of this?
While acrylamide in coffee substitutes is not known to be carcinogenic, it has been linked with several adverse health effects. These include neurotoxicity, nerve damage, reproductive toxicity, and increased risk of cancer.
The good news is that the levels of acrylamide found in instant coffee are much lower than those found in other foods that contain this chemical and far lower than the amount that has been proved to be harmful.
So, while there are certainly some potential risks associated with consuming too much instant coffee, it seems that, for the average coffee drinker, these are relatively low. And, when compared to the benefits of drinking coffee, such as increased alertness and improved mental performance, the pros seem to outweigh the cons.
What are the potential benefits of instant coffee?
This leads nicely to the fabulous health benefits of drinking instant coffee. As well as the antioxidants and vitamins mentioned earlier, drinking coffee has been linked with many other benefits. These include:
It contains less caffeine
While this may not seem like a benefit to those caffeine-lovers out there, it’s actually good news for those sensitive to the stimulator.
The overall caffeine intake from instant coffee is lower than from regular ground coffee. Instant coffee, for example, might have 30–90 milligrams of caffeine in one teaspoon of powder. One cup of regular coffee contains 70–140 milligrams, which is around double the amount.
Although many regular coffee drinkers rely on caffeine consumption to give them a little boost, whether it’s to get to work in the morning or hit the gym afterward, too much caffeine can actually have negative effects on the body. Some caffeine-related health effects include anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness, upset stomach, tremors, and a racing heart.
Instant coffee contains slightly less caffeine, so the risks of these effects are not as high. Instant decaffeinated coffee is also available and contains an even smaller dose of caffeine per cup.
So, if you’re looking for a delicious coffee drink that will give you a little boost without overstimulating your system, instant coffee might be the one for you.
It boosts physical performance
Caffeine is a well-known performance enhancer. It has been shown to improve exercise performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the body’s tissues, making them available as fuel for exercise. It also increases alertness and mental performance.
In fact, athletes, bodybuilders, and those who regularly exercise often turn to coffee as a pre-workout beverage to help them perform at their best.
So, if you’re looking to improve your workouts or want an extra edge when studying or working, drinking instant coffee could be a good option.
It can boost your metabolism and aids in weight loss
While we’re on the subject of stimulants, the caffeine in instant coffee doesn’t just aid athletic performance. Coffee, in general, has been shown to increase metabolism and aid weight loss. Once again, this is because of its caffeine content and because the stimulant increases heart rate and respiration, which boosts metabolism and can help shred body fat.
This means that if you’re looking to lose weight, drinking instant coffee could be an excellent way to help you on your way.
It reduces the risk of certain diseases
Although instant coffee contains some potentially harmful chemicals, it also includes a number of nutrients that are beneficial to human health. These nutrients work together to protect the body against many diseases and conditions.
There is a direct connection between increased instant coffee consumption and lower rates of type two diabetes and liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer. It can also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. If that weren’t enough, the aroma alone stimulates the central nervous system!
It can improve your mental health
Last but not least, instant coffee has also been shown to improve mental health. The caffeine in coffee helps block the adenosine receptors in the brain, which are associated with sleepiness. This means that drinking coffee can help you feel more awake and alert.
Additionally, because instant coffee is high in antioxidants, it can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These can cause oxidative stress in the body, which has been linked to some mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
So there you have it, instant coffee isn’t all bad! Instant coffee has less caffeine and more acrylamide than “real coffee”, but it offers many of the same antioxidants. It has a lot of potential benefits that are good for both your physical and mental health.
It’s also worth noting that instant coffee does not require a coffee maker and is quick and simple to make, and affordable. It also has an extremely long shelf life and is less expensive than regular whole coffee beans or grounds.
Of course, everything should be consumed in moderation, and you should always consult with your doctor if you have any health concerns, but a couple of cups of instant coffee should be a good and healthy addition to your balanced diet.