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Regular coffee or decaf? 7 advantages ONLY regular coffee has

You may be missing out on these health advantages if you don't drink regular coffee.

Written by Sandhya Raghavan |Published : August 28, 2017 4:00 PM IST

To decaf or not to decaf, that is the question. Decaf stands for decaffeination or removal of caffeine from coffee. Although it does not guarantee a 100 percent removal, decaf coffees have much lesser levels of caffeine. Caffeine is usually prohibited by the doctor if the patient has certain medical conditions or is on certain prescription medications. Pharmacokinetic interactions between caffeine and anti-anxiety medication are also one of the reasons why caffeine is banned.

So if your anxiety, sleeplessness, and restlessness can't do anything to deter you from your undying love for coffee, decaf is the answer. While it's true that caffeine has some less-than-savoury health problems, it is also true that coffee, on its own, has been demonised to no extent. Many coffee chuggers think that decaf coffee is much healthier than the regular one. But science may not exactly be on their side because regular coffee does have some amazing health benefits that decaf may not have. Also, whether caffeinated coffee is good or bad entirely depends on how it is metabolised in your body.1

(Read: 5 science-backed reasons why you SHOULD have caffeine)

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Improves your mood: Nothing perks you up like coffee and the secret ingredient is caffeine. Decaf may be holding back the one ingredient that is responsible for creating a good mood. It influences your dopaminergic neurotransmitters, and creates more dopamine, the happy chemical. 2

(Read: Natural ways to boost your happy chemicals)

Make you think faster: Quick thinking becomes easier with a good old dose of caffeine, something your cuppa decaf coffee won't give you. The methylxanthine action of the caffeine makes you more vigilant and sharp, decreasing your reaction time and making you think faster. 3

Makes you lose weight: That's right! Your daily cup of Joe does more for your weight loss than decaf. A study suggests that caffeine stimulates your metabolic rate, burning calories faster in normal weight and obese people. 4

(Read: The health benefits of stress)

Helps athletes perform better: Athletes specialising in endurance athletics like cycling, running and swimming may benefit more from caffeinated coffee than decaf. Caffeine has a positive effect on nerve impulse transmissions, making endurance athletes last longer at what they do. 5

Makes you less depressed: Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, has a positive effect on your mood. A study has shown that the risk of depression decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption. 6

Makes you less suicidal: Something to cheer about. A 1996 study suggested that there is an inverse relationship between caffeine consumption and suicide risk. Simply put, more caffeine you have, less likely you are to commit suicide. 7

Easier on your liver: A 2002 study confirmed that caffeinated coffee consumption reduces the risk of cirrhosis. However, the study also stated that it could partly be because of impaired caffeine metabolism in patients with liver cirrhosis. 8

But it also important to note that decaf has its own health benefits, and it is foolish to pit regular coffee against decaf. That's because each has its own strong points. Decaf is a good option if you consume more than three to four cups a day. That much caffeine in your system can be bad news. If you limit yourself to one or two cups in a day, a caffeinated version may not be such a bad thing.

References:

1. McCusker, R. R., Fuehrlein, B., Goldberger, B. A., Gold, M. S., & Cone, E. J. (2006). Caffeine content of decaffeinated coffee. Journal of analytical toxicology, 30(8), 611-613.

2.Fredholm, B. B. (1995). Adenosine, adenosine receptors and the actions of caffeine. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 76(2), 93-101.

3.Acheson KJ, Zahorska-Markiewicz B, Pittet P, Anantharaman K, J quier E.Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97.PubMed PMID: 7369170.

4.Bracco D, Ferrarra JM, Arnaud MJ, J quier E, Schutz Y. Effects of caffeine on energy metabolism, heart rate, and methylxanthine metabolism in lean and obese women. Am J Physiol. 1995 Oct;269(4 Pt 1):E671-8. PubMed PMID: 7485480.

5.Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports. 1978 Fall;10(3):155-8. PubMed PMID: 723503.

6.Lucas, M., Mirzaei, F., Pan, A., Okereke, O. I., Willett, W. C., O Reilly, . J., ... & Ascherio, A. (2011). Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Archives of internal medicine, 171(17), 1571-1578.

7.Kawachi, I., Willett, W. C., Colditz, G. A., Stampfer, M. J., & Speizer, F. E. (1996). A prospective study of coffee drinking and suicide in women. Archives of internal medicine, 156(5), 521-525.

8.Gallus, S., Tavani, A., Negri, E., & La Vecchia, C. (2002). Does coffee protect against liver cirrhosis?. Annals of epidemiology, 12(3), 202-205.

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