Green coffee beans have become increasingly popular as of late, in fact, they’re now one of the most popular supplements and weight loss products around. They’ve also been associated with a host of health benefits, from protecting the heart and lowering the risk of neurological diseases, to anti-aging effects and more.
These green-hued beans are roasted seeds of the plant Coffea Arabica. During roasting, the natural antioxidants present in the coffee beans are removed, which is not at all beneficial for our health, but these beans do not undergo that same procedure and are actually considered as highly beneficial for our overall health, in addition to helping to support weight loss efforts.
While there is some debate as to whether the benefits are worth risking the side effects, which we’ll discuss a bit later, there is evidence to believe green coffee may be very beneficial for those who can tolerate caffeine.
1. Powerful Antioxidants
Green coffee beans are loaded with antioxidants, provided they’re unprocessed, as mentioned. Those powerful antioxidants help to lessen the damaging effects of harmful free radicals in the body and help support overall health. Several studies have confirmed that raw and unprocessed green coffee beans contain 100% pure Chlorogenic Acid (CGA), which is essentially an ester of caffeic acid with strong antioxidant properties.
Many experts believe that free radical damage is a factor in the development of a host of diseases, including cancer and atherosclerosis. Antioxidants like those found in green coffee beans may play an important role in either managing or preventing not only some cancers and heart disease, but Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, arthritis-related conditions and more.
2. Normalizing Blood Sugar
Thanks to the high level of antioxidants and other healthful compounds in green coffee beans, they can also help lower inflammation, which offers positive effects on blood sugar. It may be helpful for lowering glucose levels, which, in turn, may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Research published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal demonstrated that a decaffeinated green coffee bean was able to reverse the negative effects of a high-fat diet, by reducing fat accumulation and insulin resistance.
Another study, conducted in 2007 out of Oslo Norway and published in the Journal of International Medical Research showed that chlorogenic acid enriched coffee could potentially reduce the absorption of glucose in obese people.
In 2014, the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry published a report that looked at the effects of chlorogenic acid, caffeine, and coffee on diabetic rats. The study showed that a green coffee bean extract may help to prevent brain disorders connected with diabetes, in addition to having to have the ability to improve memory and reduce anxiety, better than just coffee or caffeine alone.
3. Aiding Fat and/or Weight Loss
Green coffee beans were initially thrust into the spotlight when researchers discovered its ability to aid with weight loss. While it’s no miracle for losing weight, there is evidence to suggest it can help enhance the results when consumed while following a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise. That’s because of the substance chlorogenic acid, which is believed to be responsible for those effects. Chlorogenic acid is highly absorb-able and known to aid the body in burning glucose and stored fat for energy.
Caffeine plays a part too, in fact, a number of studies have shown that it helps boost the metabolism, anywhere from 3 to 11 percent. As caffeine provides a stimulant effect on the central nervous system, drinking it raises the metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids, aiding one’s ability to lose weight or maintain an already ideal weight. In fact, caffeine is actually one of only a very few natural compounds that have been scientifically proven to aid fat burning. One study, published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior, looked at people who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. They found that caffeinated coffee drinkers had a 16% increase in metabolism over the decaffeinated group.
Still, the main active ingredient in green coffee beans is believed to be its chlorogenic acid. Some research on humans has suggested that it can decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive tract, which lowers blood sugar levels and insulin spikes, which means, consuming a green coffee bean extract is similar to following a slightly lower carb diet.
In a 2016 animal study out of South Korea, published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, the effects of green coffee bean extract were tested on obese mice, and the researchers discovered that it “significantly decreased body weight gain, liver weight and white adipose tissue weights with regulation of adipose tissue lipolysis hormones, like adiponectin and leptin.”
4. Protecting Heart Health
As hypothesized in animal studies, the chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans appears to reduce glucose absorption, an effect that could potentially provide a protective role in diabetes management, explain the effects on body weight, and even positively affect the blood vessels to offer a major positive impact on heart health. In both human and animal studies, it’s been found to lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.
According to WebMD, there has also been research that found people with mild high blood pressure who take a specific green coffee extract, 93 mg or 185 mg daily, have reduced blood pressure in less than a month.
5. Anti-Aging Abilities
We also have chlorogenic acid to thank for the high level of antioxidants in green coffee beans which are known to slow the effects of aging. As you grow older, your face is the first area to exhibit the visible effects of ultraviolet radiation, or UV, which can manifest in wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, discoloration and dry skin. Those unwelcome changes reflect the deteriorating condition of the components that make up the inner layer of the skin, which is a combination of the fibrous protein collagen and elastin, along with water-binding glycosaminoglycans. Together, these compounds form a strong, resilient framework of connective tissue that gives the skin its elasticity and strength, for the appearance of more vibrant, younger looking skin.
The UV rays from sunlight wreak havoc on the skin by generating the production of free radicals, which break down the vital components of the skin’s framework, and eventually, it results in those tell-tale signs of aging. Green coffee beans help to rejuvenate it again, to improve the texture and firmness of the skin as well as reducing redness and the appearance of wrinkles.
6. An Energy Boost
The reason most people drink coffee is to get that energy boost, and green coffee beans are no different, as they also contain the stimulant known as caffeine which can increase energy levels in addition to aiding weight loss by boosting the metabolism. Caffeine reaches the brain quickly, blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter known as adenosine, while triggering the increase of feel-good hormones like dopamine, and acts as a central nervous system stimulant, with the most noticeable effect being alertness. It also can lead to increased focus, motivation, and a more positive outlook. More obviously, it helps one to feel more awake and less tired, which is why it’s also a common ingredient in medications to treat drowsiness.
7. Benefiting Brain Health
A recent study out the Nutritional Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, published in the Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience found there is increasing scientific evidence that the chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans can lower the risk of degenerative brain conditions.
Coffee, in general, has been shown to reduce the risk or delay the development of Alzheimer’s and other brain aging diseases in numerous studies. It may even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in those who already have some form of mild dementia. Research has shown that caffeine blocks inflammation in the brain, specifically adenosine receptors, which can start a chain reaction that begins the mind’s cognitive decline. It’s also been found to have such a positive effect on inflammation in the brain, that adults who were 65 years of age or older with higher levels of caffeine in their blood, were found to avoid or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao noted in regard to the study: “These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee — about three cups a day — will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s.”
Caffeine also has a positive effect on tau protein, which has been very closely linked to Alzheimer’s. The buildup of this protein is present in the brain scans of people with the disease, and it’s believed that it can actually kill brain cells, leading to cognitive decline. Caffeine blocks some receptors in the brain that contribute to the buildup of tau, as it’s considered an adenosine receptor antagonist. Researchers believe their findings even have the potential to lead to a new class of drugs for treating this devastating brain disease.
8. Fighting Cancer
Research has also suggested the chlorogenic acid may help decrease cancer risk and make the body more receptive to cancer treatment. According to The Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, chlorogenic acid has an antioxidant effect that could potentially serve as breast cancer fighters.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry also looked at breast cancer cells. They examined chlorogenic acid in peaches and plum and found that the compound could potentially serve as cancer fighters and have a “chemopreventive” effect.
The Downsides Of Green Coffee Beans:
While green coffee beans have a long list of scientifically documented benefits, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. And, if you plan on using it to help you lose weight, it’s unlikely to make much of a difference unless you’ve also made some major lifestyle changes, like getting regular exercise, 7 to 8 hours of quality rest each night, following stress reduction practices and consuming a healthy diet.
Another issue to consider is that there is no standardization when it comes to supplements. That means that manufacturers don’t have to follow a specific formula, so one green coffee extract product could be made completely differently than another, and one brand might contain a lot more caffeine than the bottle next to it. That’s concerning because concentrated doses of caffeine can lead to anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, stomach upset, headaches and irregular heartbeat, or even more serious problems in some people who are more sensitive to it. Using supplements that contain caffeine and then stopping them has also been linked to withdrawal symptoms like a headache, fatigue, depression, trouble concentrating, nervousness and muscle tension.
These supplements can also react with others that you’re taking, such as guarana, which can trigger a synergistic effect that may raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. A high caffeine intake can also lead to the loss of magnesium and calcium, and many prescription medications also have interactions with caffeine, including everything from antidepressants to blood pressure and diabetes drugs.
If you have a history of heart problems or being sensitive to caffeine, you should not use green coffee beans, or any caffeine-based supplements or drinks, as it can lead to or aggravate heart rhythm abnormalities. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, have a bleeding disorder, glaucoma or high blood pressure should speak with their healthcare provider before use.
Even if none of these situations apply to you, keep in mind that green coffee beans can cause symptoms such as:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Sleep issues
- Acid Reflux
If you notice any of these symptoms, stop using green coffee beans immediately, and speak to your healthcare provider for advice.
WebMD advises: Green Coffee is possibly safe based on the limited research that has been done in people so far. In clinical research, no serious side effects were reported when green coffee or green coffee extract was taken by mouth at appropriate doses,” however, the site also warns that there has not been enough situational evidence to identify potentially dangerous side effects from the supplement.