Drinking green coffee is becoming increasingly popular these days, especially with people who are trying to shed a few pounds, but green coffee isn’t just touted as a miraculous fat fighter. It is also believed to lower blood pressure, improve mental function; and may even prevent the onset of cancer. All that from a cup of coffee? It sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? But in this case all of the claims appear to be true.
What is Green Coffee?
Normal coffees are made from those rich dark beans that most people will be familiar with, but the dark colour is the result of the roasting process used to help bring out the flavour of the bean. In their normal state coffee beans are green; so green coffee is merely a beverage made from unroasted coffee beans.
Why is Green Coffee Better than Roasted Blends?
Although the roasting process adds to the flavor of the beans that flavour comes at a price. An important component called chlorogenic acid is destroyed. Several studies show the chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans has the ability to encourage weight loss and it is also known to be a good source of antioxidants.
How Does Green Coffee Assist Weight Loss?
The chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans appears to have the ability to interfere with the function of certain enzymes in the liver and cause them to restrict the amount of glucose that is produced from ingested food. It also ensures any glucose that is produced is released at a slower rate than normal, but the benefits don’t end there. Chlorogenic acid is also a powerful fat burning agent.
Green Coffee and Weight Loss—Some Studies
In March 2006 BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine published the results of a study conducted on green coffee bean extract. Mice were fed daily doses of an extract prepared from green coffee beans and the researchers recorded a marked decrease in body fat, accompanied by significant weight loss.
More recently, Applied Food Sciences conducted a 22-week study on 16 overweight human volunteers. Some of the volunteers were given 350mg of green coffee bean extract twice each day. Other volunteers received 350mg of green coffee bean extract three times a day and a third group was given a placebo three times a day. No changes to the diet were enforced, but the volunteers were encouraged to be physically active. On average the volunteers who were given green coffee bean extract showed a 10% reduction in weight.
Green Coffee as a Treatment for High Blood Pressure
The chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans also appears to have the ability to lower blood pressure.
In one study, conducted in 2006, and later published in Clinical and Experimental Hypertension, volunteers were given daily doses of green coffee bean extract (140mg) and the researchers noted a drop in blood pressure that remained constant throughout the study period.
Green Coffee Bean & Mental Function
Green coffee beans are also a source of caffeine. According to an article published in Nutrition Bulletin (February 2008), a number of studies suggest caffeine offers several benefits:
- Faster reflexes
- Protection from fatigue
- Improved memory
- Improved alertness
- Increased vigilance
Benefits from Antioxidants
Green coffee provides numerous antioxidants that could potentially protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals.
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (July 2004) the antioxidant properties of the chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans may also prevent the proliferation of certain types of cancer cells.
Caffeine is known to be capable of producing numerous side effects including headaches, restlessness, nausea, jitters, and heart palpitations—especially when used in excess—so green coffee may not be suitable for some users and should always be used in moderation.
Ingesting an overly high amount of chlorogenic acid can result in elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which can increase the likelihood of heart disease. For this reason green coffee drinkers should never exceed four cups each day.
As is so often the case in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, but when used sensibly and in moderation green coffee offers too many benefits to be ignored.