You probably drink coffee for its caffeine. Indeed, most die-hard coffee drinkers enjoy their delicious coffee because it helps wake them up and remain energized and focused during the day.
What’s the point of decaf coffee, then? If you’re wondering why anyone would drink cups of decaf coffee, or you’re considering making the switch yourself, there actually is a point to decaffeinated coffee.
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What Is Decaf, and Why Drink It?
According to Healthline, decaffeinated coffee is still coffee with about 97 percent less caffeine. The regular coffee beans get washed in water, organic solvents, carbon dioxide, or a charcoal filter before grinding, removing most of the caffeine content. Then they’re ground up and made into decaf coffee grounds.
This decaffeination process results in more than just removing caffeine, although the primary benefits you get from decaf involve less caffeine. Below are the reasons why decaf coffee exists and continues to exist.
Caffeine can contribute to a bitter taste in coffee. Indeed, bitterness is many people’s chief complaint about the taste of coffee. Decaf has a milder coffee taste with less of a bitter aftertaste than caffeinated coffee, making for a more pleasant experience for those who are sensitive to bitterness.
You also get a milder aroma of coffee with decaf, which is good for coffee lovers who are sensitive to scents and odors. If you find that you have problems with the smell of a regular cup of coffee and you wouldn’t miss the caffeine, try switching to decaf and see what happens.
Dealing with Caffeine Intolerance
We’re all well aware that caffeine is a stimulant. Otherwise, we wouldn’t rely on it so heavily for energy and focus throughout our days.
However, some people don’t tolerate the effects of caffeine very well. For some people, the problem is fatigue. For some, caffeine can feel more like a sedative than a stimulant.
For others, caffeine causes intolerable jitters along with a racing heart and shortness of breath, nausea, and abdominal pain. Caffeine intolerance means you need to avoid it as much as possible, so if you don’t want to give up your coffee, decaf makes an excellent alternative.
Pregnant women should avoid caffeine altogether.
Many of us are chronically stressed and anxious in today’s world, and caffeine doesn’t help. While increased anxiety isn’t necessarily a symptom of caffeine intolerance, just having the extra anxiety alone is something most of us don’t need.
Caffeine doesn’t generally cause anxiety problems. You have to ingest an awful lot of black coffee for that. However, it does contribute. So while switching to decaf won’t necessarily solve your anxiety issues, it can have an impact on how bad your anxiety is.
You should talk to your doctor if you think you’re having problems with anxiety. They’ll probably ask you about your caffeine intake, and if they recommend reducing or eliminating caffeine, then decaf coffee is a great alternative.
The Sleep Foundation warns that caffeine can mess with your sleep-wake cycle in some nasty ways. If you ingest more than 400 milligrams of it per day, or you have a late-night coffee within six hours of bedtime, you’ll spend more time just trying to get to sleep, plus you’re less likely to get enough of the deep, restorative sleep you need.
Ultimately, you wind up badly sleep-deprived and in a vicious cycle of using ever-larger amounts of caffeine to feel awake throughout the day.
For many, this is reason enough to give up or at least cut back on coffee intake. But if you don’t want to do that, you can switch to decaf. Then you get to enjoy your coffee without all the problems associated with caffeine.
Retain the Health Benefits of Fully Caffeinated Coffee
Medical News Today says that decaf coffee has the same common health benefits as regular coffee. Drinking coffee, caffeinated or not, can reduce your risk of certain cancers and death from cardiovascular disease.
According to LiveScience, coffee can also improve your brain’s ability to metabolize sugar. Reduced sugar metabolism can lead to cognitive impairment and decline, potentially including Alzheimer’s.
Some of the components of coffee, like polyphenols, can improve day-to-day cognitive functions and may reduce your risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Many people who drink coffee do so for the caffeine content. It helps wake them up in the morning and helps them feel energized throughout their day.
What about the regular coffee drinker who needs to reduce or eliminate their caffeine intake for health issues but doesn’t want to give up their regular coffee cups?
That’s the point of a cup of decaf coffee. True coffee lovers can reap all the benefits of coffee, including the fresh coffee flavor, without the problems that come with caffeine. You might even find some benefits like improved taste that don’t exist in caffeinated coffee.