As we are aware, cold brew coffee has become extremely popular in recent years. Some of the reasons for this are the taste, the convenience and the fact that it is far superior to iced coffee in so many ways.
However, there is another reason that this coffee craze has become a phenomenon. Cold Brew has a number of health benefits associated with it that make it all the more appealing.
A lot of these are coffee benefits in general but I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the amazing health benefits of the delicious liquid known as coffee, and then to highlight some of the ways in which cold brew is even more superior for health. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
Caffeine health benefits
First of all, let’’s talk about the health benefits associated with caffeine. Apart from coffee, good quality sources of caffeine are black tea, green tea and chocolate, although coffee is the best source. Cold brew typically contains more caffeine than regular coffee due to the long brewing process.
The most obvious effect of caffeine that we are all familiar with is that it gives us energy. When we consume caffeine, our body produces adrenaline. This is the evolutionary fight or flight hormone that allows us to think and respond quickly in high pressure situations, and to perform better in general.
Another reason that we feel alert or awake when we consume caffeine is that it blocks a neurotransmitter that our body makes called adenosine. Adenosine is one of the reasons that our body starts to feel sleepy. When adenosine is blocked, we don’t get sleepy which is one of the reasons coffee is so good at waking us up.
However, alertness isn’t the main advantage that we get from the adenosine blocking. Studies have shown that when adenosine is blocked, our body creates more norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals cause the neurons in our brains to fire more. Increased neuron activity means increased brainwaves. Our brain actually works better and more creatively after caffeine consumption.
You may have also heard that coffee is good for weight loss. It has also been proven that drinking caffeinated beverages increases our metabolism by 5-10%. Having a quicker metabolism is essential for weight loss and management.
Now, I’m talking about black coffee here. Extra calories from lots of cream, syrup or sugar are obviously bad for weight loss. This is a reason why cold brew is potentially advantageous. Due to the process of brewing without heat, cold brew is naturally sweet and well rounded. People often find that they don’t need to sweeten cold brew at all. If you feel even a cold brew isn’t creamy or sweet enough, give a nitro cold brew a try. Nitro cold brew is creamy and sweet but naturally dairy free, sugar free and almost calorie free.
Other Health Properties of Coffee and Cold Brew
Most importantly, coffee is super rich in antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidants is one of the main keys to a long and healthy life.
The antioxidants and other properties in coffee and cold brew have been shown in studies time and time again to be responsible for a whole load of health benefits. Generally, as a society we don’t eat enough antioxidant rich foods. Coffee is therefore an essential source of those magical age reversers. Coffee is the richest source of antioxidants in the western diet.
Antioxidants decrease chronic inflammation in our body. Chronic inflammation is the main reason humans develop chronic diseases. Some diseases that coffee has been shown to fight include:
• Type 2 diabetes – Low insulin resistance eventually leads to type 2 diabetes. Coffee has been shown to increase insulin resistance and therefore fight type 2 diabetes.
• Alzheimer’s – less chronic inflammation in the brain in conjunction with the brain workout that our body gets when we drink coffee brewed hot or cold both contribute to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.
• Parkinson’s – prevention of Parkinson’s is similar to Alzheimer’s, as they are both brain degenerative diseases.
• Obesity – as I mentioned, caffeine increases metabolism. Coffee has also shown to be satiating and to decrease appetite. Research shows that people who drink coffee everyday on average are thinner than those who don’t. Drinking cold brew is quick and easy way of getting your daily coffee in as it requires next to no preparation and is drunk cold – perfect for being on the go.
• Some cancers – coffee can potentially decrease risk of certain cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancers (the two most common forms of cancer in men and women respectively). The cancer that coffee is particularly excellent at fighting against is liver cancer. Our liver loves coffee. When we drink it, coffee makes a chemical called paraxathine. This slows the growth of scar tissue in our liver and increases liver health in general.
• Less instances of depression and suicide – coffee is also known to improve mood. Observational studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers have lower levels of depression on average compared to those who don’t drink coffee.
• Decreased risk of stroke – several studies have also linked moderate coffee intake to a decreased risk of stroke.
Coffee Contains Some Essential Nutrients
Along with everything else that is amazing in coffee, it also contains various essential nutrients such as vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Magnesium and niacin) and B5 as well as potassium and manganese.
These nutrients are found in relatively small amounts in coffee, so the benefit is mainly seen in people who drink 4 cups or more of coffee per day. Having said that, drinking coffee to excess can have some health disadvantages such as caffeine dependancy, anxiety and dehydration so it is recommended by the World Health Organization that the average person doesn’t consume more than 400 mg on average of coffee per day.
Cold Brew Health Benefits
Though cold brew and regular coffee share many health benefits, there are some healthy qualities that are unique to cold brew.
Cold Brew and Acidity
Heat is required to extract the acidic properties from the coffee bean. Therefore, by default, cold brew coffee is less acidic than hot coffee. This has several positive health effects for many of us.
Now, acid and coffee is a complicated topic. Hot coffee is more acidic to taste, that is for sure. This is because acidic notes cannot be extracted from the coffee bean without heat. However, this only affects the taste. Both hot and cold brewed coffee actually have a similar ph of 5.
The reason coffee can be hard on sensitive stomachs is because some compounds found in coffee, stimulate acid production in the stomach.
The interesting thing is that many people have found that switching to cold brew is kinder on a sensitive stomach and helps with acid reflux. The theory is that brewing cold extracts less of these acid causing compounds from the coffee bean and so cold brew is better for a sensitive or highly acidic stomach. This makes sense as everything is extracted to a slower and lesser extent when brewing cold.
For whatever reason, cold brew causes less acidity and so is a good option for those for whom stomach acid is a concern.
Cold brew, therefore, might also be gentler on your teeth. Hot coffee, along with other foods that are high in acid, even healthy ones such as citrus fruits, tomatoes or apple cider vinegar, can break down the enamel layer on our teeth. This happens to a much lesser extent when we drink cold brew.
Cold Brew and Caffeine
As I mentioned before, a serving of cold brew is typically higher in caffeine than a hot cup of coffee. Caffeine consumption has been shown to be accumulative, ie. the more caffeine we consume, the more we see the benefits. With cold brew and its extra caffeine content we are giving ourselves an extra boost of creativity, alertness and fat burning.
Cold Brew and Sweetness
Again, a great side effect of cold brewing is that the brew is naturally sweet. This means that people don’t tend to add as much sugar or cream to cold brewed coffee. Reducing sugar intake is an extremely healthy lifestyle change to make and plays a big part in overall health and weight loss.
Cold Brew and Oil
Cold brewing also extracts less oil than brewing hot. Although those oily notes are delicious, some studies have shown than unfiltered coffee such as french press and espresso can increase the bad cholesterol in our bodies over time, if drunk to excess. Cold brew contains very little oil. On top of this, it is always filtered and so has none of these potential negative effects.
Don’t give up your regular hot joe just yet though. Due to the heat exposure, more of those antioxidants are extracted from the coffee bean when brewing hot compared to brewing cold. This is a big plus for hot coffee.
One thing’s for sure, both hot coffee and cold brew are extremely healthy. I recommend a combination of the two to get the individual health benefits associated with each brewing style. Since coffee is one of the best things we have discovered as humans, there is really no down side to this. So keep brewing to live longer (and prosper).