Decaf coffee offers many of the same health benefits as regular coffee without some of the potential side effects. Whereas the caffeine in regular coffee can lead to increased anxiety, caffeine dependence, sleeplessness and heart irregularities, decaf appears free of these symptoms. Here are 6 health benefits of decaf coffee:
Decaffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of many types of cancer. Just three cups per day may reduce the risk of skin cancer by as much as 9% in men and 20% in women. The risk of developing prostate cancer is also greatly reduced, by as much as 30% for some coffee drinkers according a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
According to a professor at the Harvard School For Public Health, decaf coffee consumption appears to help protect the liver from cirrhosis and related forms of liver cancer. It is unclear as to whether the caffeine in regular coffee may enhance or deter this protection, but decaf coffee is considered good for the liver when taken in moderation.
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Drinking decaf coffee can greatly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains magnesium, chromium and other minerals that help the body use insulin. Thus, coffee helps regulate blood sugar levels. A review of 18 studies, involving 450,000 people, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that each additional cup of coffee consumed per day lowered the risk of diabetes by 7%. A similar study of 193,000 people saw a reduced risk of 35% for people drinking 6 or 7 cups of coffee per day.
Coffee is often associated with a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. A study conducted in Finland and Sweden of 1,400 people over the course of 20 years found a 65% reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease for those that drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day. There may be some difference between drinking regular or decaf coffee when it comes to preventing Alzheimer's. A lab study of mice found that an unknown substance in coffee interacted closely with the caffeine to boost GCSF, a growth factor known to ward off Alzheimer's disease. For now, it appears that all coffee can have positive effects on Alzheimer's and dementia, but decaf coffee may not be as strong as regular.
Consuming several cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of Parkinson's disease by 25%. A review of studies published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease looked at 26 different studies involving 125,000 people and found that two to three cups of coffee per day may have optimal effects on Parkinson's patients.
Though decaf coffee has sometimes been associated with an increase in cholesterol levels, it appears that its overall heart benefits are good. One study showed that women who drink coffee on a daily basis have a 25% less chance of developing cardiovascular disease than non-coffee drinkers. Additionally, decaf may be a better choice for the heart than regular coffee because it does not come with the adverse side effects caffeine can have on cardiovascular health.