Everyone is familiar with coffee: the smell wafting out from the kitchen, the relaxation of catching up with friends at your local cafe, or that drinkable burst of energy before a big presentation. Even if you don’t like the taste, the smell is recognizable from grocery store aisles to airline beverage carts—coffee is part of our landscape.
Those coffee beans all share one common trait: they’ve spent time in a roaster. Roasting coffee beans—at different temperatures and for different times—creates the variety of flavors, colors and smells. You’re probably familiar with the various medium, bold, French, Italian and espresso roasts. Regardless of which you choose, when drinking coffee your beans are going to be roasted.
Free the bean!
Coffee beans are experiencing a new resurgence in their raw form, before any roasting takes place. The roasting process strips away many of the antioxidants and their nutritional. As more knowledge about unroasted beans comes to light, their popularity grows as a resource for health, wellness, and weight control.
The unroasted beans can be brewed just like their roasted counterparts, though the resulting beverage more closely resembles an herbal tea than the coffee we’re used to. Another popular way to consume green coffee beans is through a green bean extract, either added to any drink or taken alone, for all the benefits without all the liquid.
What’s the point?
Green coffee isn’t just a novelty drink. The beans contain an antioxidant that causes weight loss and controls blood sugar. They are said to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure, and they increase the body’s metabolism by burning more fat. Green coffee extract can also improve heart health and aid in liver cleansing. Certainly, the caffeine in the beans provides an energy boost, just as regular coffee does. Green coffee beans provide the pop of coffee, with a host of health bonuses tacked on.
Where’s the proof?
Those are quite lofty claims for a few beans to make. Scientists have been hard at work digging up proof of green coffee’s benefits—and, so far, the beans are holding up to scrutiny.
The first major study was small, but showed drastic results. It involved 16 obese adults who stuck to their usual diets, which were above the recommended calorie intake, for the duration of the study. The only alteration they made was adding green coffee bean extract each day. In 22 weeks, they each had lost an average of 17 pounds. A cup of green coffee a day for two weeks was enough to help one study’s participants lose 3½ pounds; in two weeks, participants had lost yet another. Longer studies are still ongoing, but early results are promising. It looks like green coffee, whether as a drink or as an extract, reduces weight, cuts down on body fat, and may even reduce the appearance of cellulite—an attractive bonus for many.
How does it work?
It would be great if your everyday coffee offered those kinds of perks. Unfortunately, roasting coffee beans removes the chlorogenic acid that’s naturally found. This handy antioxidant works in conjunction with caffeine to slow down the absorption of glucose and speed up metabolism. By burning fat faster, green coffee can help reduce your weight even if your eating habits remain unchanged.
Chlorogenic acid also can reduce blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Many hypothesize that the wonder beans also improve circulation and lower blood pressure. More importantly for weight loss, the beans function as an appetite suppressant: by minimizing your desire to eat, they reduce the biggest and most problematic cause of obesity and excess weight.
Since green coffee beans are in their untarnished state, they still contain caffeine. While many people love caffeine for its stimulant properties, it also can cause a jittery feeling and other negative effects on the body. Keep in mind that you aren’t just adding nutrients to your diet, but also a proven and effective stimulant.
Both the drink and the extract are said to have a bitter taste, and some people find them unpleasant to ingest. This isn’t a strong enough reason to discount green coffee’s many health benefits, though.
What do we think?
After delving into the available research, it seems safe to say that green coffee beans deliver a multitude of rewards for their small size. We’re already well familiar with coffee in its brown form, and now it turns out that it’s even better for you before it hits the roaster.
You can already order your coffee with milk, or you can take it black. Now there’s a new color on the spectrum. With the advent of green coffee, you can ditch the pounds along with the roasting.