Green Coffee: 5 Benefits + 3 Uses of Unroasted Coffee Beans
While unroasted coffee sounds strange at first, it refers to the purest form of coffee: green coffee. This is because it is completely untreated coffee beans that have not been roasted or otherwise processed. Basically: raw coffee. Our article will explain the effects and health benefits it has and in what form you can use green coffee.
Coffee has been a staple food for centuries. It perks you up, increases concentration, and can be a real lifesaver after a long night. In fact: many people feel they can’t live without their morning coffee.
The situation is different with green coffee. This type of coffee has only been known for a few years. And it is nothing other than unroasted and raw coffee. We explain everything you need to know about the superfood below.
What Green Coffee is
Green coffee differs from regular coffee in one crucial step. While in black coffee the beans are ripe and roasted, which creates the typical coffee aroma; the beans in green coffee are neither ripe nor roasted. They, therefore, remain green and raw.
Coffee beans are the seeds of the drupe of the coffee tree. Each fruit contains two seeds, which are detached from the pulp and shelled.
For green coffee, the fruits are harvested while still unripe. As a result, the coffee bean is still green, whereas when ripe, beans can be yellow, reddish, or brown.
Green coffee differs from its popular relative in several ways. Black coffee, for example, contains more caffeine than green coffee. The two types of coffee also differ significantly in taste.
If you prepare green coffee like conventional coffee, the result is acidic and for most people, takes quite a bit of getting used to. In addition, many also describe the smell as unusual.
Unlike black coffee, however, green coffee contains a considerable amount of chlorogenic acid, which gives it its special properties. For example, green coffee is said to contribute significantly to weight loss and affect blood sugar levels.
Healthy Ingredients of Unroasted Coffee Beans
The chlorogenic acid it contains is responsible for most of the effects of coffee. With a content of up to 70 percent, green coffee is the food with the highest content of chlorogenic acid.
In roasted coffee beans, the roasting process significantly reduces the content of the acid. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of roasted coffee contain on average only 3.5 grams (12 hundredths of an ounce) of chlorogenic acid. Special processes are used to further reduce the chlorogenic acid content, as the acid can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in sensitive people.
Although green coffee contains less caffeine than roasted coffee, it is still a suitable stimulant. Even with conventional coffee, the caffeine content can vary greatly and depends on the type of coffee.
Robusta coffee, for example, with 1.7 to 4 percent, has a higher caffeine content than Arabica coffee with 0.8 to 1.4 percent. Green coffee made from Arabica beans has an average caffeine content of 1.16 percent, while green coffee with Robusta beans has an average of 2.15 percent.
In addition to chlorogenic acid and caffeine, green coffee also contains valuable proteins that make up to approximately 10 percent of the coffee bean. In total, green coffee contains 18 amino acids, including aspartic acid, leucine, lysine, proline and glycine.
Leucine and lysine belong to the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce itself. They must therefore be supplied from the outside: through food. While leucine mainly supports muscle protein and promotes muscle healing, lysine strengthens connective and muscle tissue. Together with other substances, it can also influence fat metabolism.
A small proportion are tocopherols, which have a strong antioxidant effect, are also present. Tocopherols refer to a form of vitamin E, which is known primarily for its cell-protective effects.
As an antioxidant, it protects cells from mutations caused by oxygen radicals, which are produced in the body by excessive sunbathing and smoking, for example. The important vitamin can thus prevent not only serious diseases but also premature aging of the skin.
Health Benefits of Green Coffee
Due to its numerous healthy ingredients, green coffee has several health effects on the body.
However, many effects have only been studied in animals and have not yet been proven in humans. Further studies are needed to verify whether the results can be applied to humans.
We have listed some of these possible health benefits in this section for you.
For Weight Loss
Green coffee gained particular notoriety because of its effect on weight loss. An American-Indian study was able to prove that with the help of green coffee, body fat could be significantly reduced – and without any change in nutrition.
In a study, 16 overweight subjects, divided into three groups, were given various capsules containing green coffee extract over a period of 22 weeks.
While one group took capsules containing 1050 milligrams of green coffee extract, another group received capsules containing 700 milligrams of extract. Yet another group took placebo capsules over the same period. The subjects did not know which group they were in.
After 22 weeks, it was found that the subjects who swallowed capsules containing 1050 milligrams of extract experienced weight loss averaging eight kilograms. The test subjects had not restricted their calorie intake during the study period.
The force behind this tremendous effect is said to be the chlorogenic acid contained in green coffee, which is said to have an inhibiting effect on sugar absorption in the intestine. In retrospect, however, it turned out that the results had been partly falsified.
The extent to which green coffee really contributes to weight reduction must therefore be put to further research.
Diabetes prevention is also attributed to green coffee. The reason for this is again the chlorogenic acid, which inhibits sugar absorption in the intestine. This can cause blood sugar levels to drop. Drinking green coffee after a meal can help keep blood sugar levels low.
This way you can not only prevent diabetes, but also have a beneficial effect on existing diabetes. However, more studies need to be done to clearly confirm this.
For High Blood Pressure
Green coffee is also said to be helpful for high blood pressure. This is despite the fact that shortly after consumption, coffee causes blood pressure to rise for about 30 minutes. However, if you drink coffee regularly, your body gets used to the effect. After a few weeks, the increase in blood pressure after consumption is therefore less.
Those with lower grade hypertension can particularly benefit from green coffee and more specifically from the chlorogenic acid it contains. In a placebo-controlled study, subjects who consumed 140 milligrams of chlorogenic acid from green coffee daily were found to have lower blood pressure at the end of the study compared with subjects who took only placebos.
For Cell Protection
The chlorogenic acid found in green coffee is a powerful antioxidant, as are the tocopherols it contains. In this way, green coffee can protect against possible cell damage. Antioxidants, or radical scavengers, neutralize free radicals in the body, which can cause alarming changes in cells when they occur in excess.
Moreover, factors such as excessive sunbathing and smoking can promote the formation of oxygen radicals.
Oxygen radicals are linked to the formation of serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Also, early skin aging is promoted by oxygen radicals. So consuming green coffee can sometimes protect against these diseases.
As a Pick-me-up
Even though green coffee contains slightly less caffeine than roasted coffee, it still has a stimulating and performance-enhancing effect.
A daily amount of no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is recommended. To reach this amount with green coffee, you would need to consume around five cups of the hot beverage daily. Note, however, that you could also consume caffeine from other sources such as green tea, cola, and chocolate.
Risks of Raw Coffee Beans
Although green coffee comes with some health benefits, there are still some risks you should be aware of. However, these differ only insignificantly from the side effects of roasted coffee.
In general, coffee can cause stomach upset, insomnia, inner restlessness, sweating, and even heart arrhythmia due to the caffeine it contains. But this happens mostly only if the beverage has been consumed in excessive amounts.
In addition, some studies suggest that the caffeine contained in coffee increases homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that helps in the formation of other amino acids.
However, if there is too much homocysteine, it can have serious consequences because the arteries can calcify, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are also associated with elevated homocysteine levels.
Chlorogenic acid, found in green coffee, has side effects similar to caffeine. The acid can promote gastrointestinal distress and increase homocysteine levels as well. Since the two substances act together in green coffee, you’d better approach the drink with particular care.
Apply Green Coffee
Coffee is mostly known as a hot beverage. However, green coffee is mainly available in capsules or as a powder. Only rarely do you get green coffee beans that you can process into the popular drink on your own.
However, even with capsules and powder you can produce the diverse effects of green coffee. Due to the rather acquired taste of green coffee, capsules are recommended if you want to benefit from the healthy effects of coffee.
As Coffee Beans
Sometimes you can get green coffee in the form of coffee beans. Then you can either prepare the coffee with a suitable coffee maker or grind the beans and infuse them like tea with the help of a tea bag. Your coffee will be extra fresh this way.
Green Coffee Extract in Capsules
The Green coffee capsules contain green coffee extract, which provides both chlorogenic acid and caffeine. However, the recommended daily dose here often contains less caffeine than a cup of roasted coffee.
This eliminates significant side effects that may otherwise accompany the consumption of coffee. Often, about 45 percent of green coffee extract consists of chlorogenic acid.
Since some side effects can also come in this form, people with sensitive stomachs should use the capsules with caution.
In general, you should stick to the recommended intake. Also, make sure that no fillers are added to the product. Besides the extract, the capsule should only consist of the capsule shell.
Green Coffee Extract Powder
If you buy green coffee powder, you should make sure that it is pure green coffee extract, so that it consists only of pure coffee beans.
You can add the extract to smoothies, bake with it, or prepare a hot drink with green coffee powder.
Moreover, you can prepare a healthy tea with the extract. For this purpose, you fill the powder into a tea bag, pour hot water over it, and let it steep for a few minutes.
If you use the powdered extract, you should also carefully adhere to the specified consumption recommendation.
Where to Buy Green Coffee Beans
You can find green coffee mostly online. Furthermore, you may also be able to purchase the superfood at various supermarkets, drugstores, and sometimes even in grocery stores.
Prices for each product vary greatly by quality and quantity. You can get 200 grams (almost a cup) of green coffee powder in organic quality for around ten dollars.
Capsules are usually a bit more expensive, but easier to dose. A kilogram (2.2 lbs) of green coffee beans can be found online for between 15 and 20 dollars. To avoid pollutants, you should pay attention to organic quality as well as price.