For most people, going to a coffee shop for their favorite cup of Joe is the most essential part of their routine. But aside from getting your daily caffeine intake, a single whiff of hot coffee is all it takes to jolt some people awake and get them ready for the busy day ahead. While hot coffee is no doubt a popular beverage, more and more people are wondering, “Is iced coffee good for you?” Below, we discuss all there is to know.
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So, Why Iced Coffee?
According to experts, cold brew coffee could bring various health benefits such as protecting our heart health and boosting the metabolism. Some lovers of coffee also believe that there’s less chance of getting an upset stomach with cold-brewed coffee. As such, the popularity of iced coffee among coffee drinkers has increased in recent years.
Compared to hot brewing methods that use hot water to extract the caffeine and flavor out of coffee beans, cold brew methods steep the beans in cold water for a total of 12 to 24 hours. This results in a drink that’s less bitter; while most research points to hot coffee having definite benefits, the iced coffee debate is still ongoing. Below are the many health benefits of iced coffee drinks.
May Boost Metabolism
This is a process where the body uses the food we eat to convert it into energy; the higher our metabolic rate, the higher the number of calories we can burn while we rest. Much like hot coffee, iced coffee contains a solid dose of caffeine, which may increase our metabolic rate by as much as 11% while we rest. Caffeine also boosts our metabolism, resulting in the human body that melts away body fat.
A study revealed that ingesting caffeine can burn calories 13% faster, along with burning fats in 2-folds. These results are much better compared to the results from a beta-blocker or placebo effect study.
Could Improve Your Mood
The extra boost of caffeine in your iced coffee may lead to better mental health. Caffeine consumption may also enhance your mood, especially if you’re sleep-deprived, while a review of studies on more than 370,000 individuals confirmed that people who drink coffee have lower depression rates. Moreover, the study found that each cup of coffee consumed in a day helped to lower the risk of depression by 8%.
Another study found that adults in their senior years may experience an improved mood of up to 17% by taking 1.4 mg of caffeine per pound of their body weight. This amount of caffeine is around 2 cups of coffee for someone who’s average-sized. Finally, caffeine improves the ability of people to react to objects moving towards them, which points to increased brain alertness and focus.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease refers to various conditions that may affect the heart, such as heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease, and is the leading cause of death all over the world. According to scientific reports, cold coffee has compounds that could reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including phenolic compounds, higher caffeine levels, lignans, quinides, trigonelline, and magnesium. They also lower blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, and stabilize blood sugars.
Such drinks also contain anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants, so drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee regularly could lower the risk for heart disease by as much as 15%, compared to those who don’t drink. However, the efficacy of this theory hasn’t been tested in patients who drink over 600 mg of caffeine or around 6 cups of coffee. Furthermore, people with high blood pressure shouldn’t drink too much caffeine since it may elevate their levels even more.
Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
This chronic condition results in high blood sugar levels and when left untreated, may lead to many complications to our health. Cold brew coffee might reduce your risk for this disease; experts believe that drinking a minimum of 4 to 6 cups of coffee each day is linked to a lower risk for this disease. This could be due to the higher levels of antioxidants present in this drink.
Cold coffee may also help to regulate your stomach’s peptides, hormones within the digestive system that can stabilize blood sugar and slow digestion. A study found that older adults between the ages 45 to 74 found that drinking a minimum of 4 cups of coffee a day had a 30% lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared to those who didn’t drink daily.
May Protect Mental Health
Apart from improving your mood and attentiveness, iced coffee may also stimulate the nervous system and enhance your brain functions. A recent study found that coffee may be able to protect the brain from neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These diseases are caused by the death of brain cells which happens gradually; both illnesses may end in dementia, a mental illness that can make everyday life difficult.
An observational study revealed that people who drink around 3 to 5 cups of coffee daily before reaching their senior years have a 65% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s and dementia. Moreover, men who drink over 4 cups of coffee each day are 5 times less likely to develop such conditions. Apparently, many compounds found in coffee such as harman, nonharman, and phenylindanes can keep us protected against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
It Could Be Easier on the Stomach
Many people will avoid coffee because it could be too acidic for them and may trigger their acid reflux. This is a condition that makes stomach acids flow from the stomach back to the esophagus, which could cause irritation. Coffee’s acidity may also be blamed for other negative effects such as heartburn and indigestion.
Some studies have found cold brew coffee has slightly less acidity compared to hot coffee, which may lead to less irritation. Another reason why this is a better option for coffee lovers is the presence of crude polysaccharides, sugar molecules that boost the digestive system’s immunity.
Could Help Extend Your Life
Thanks to the studies above, drinking regular iced coffee might reduce your risk of death or dying from diseases. In a long-term study on men and women aged 50 to 71, researchers found that the more they drank coffee, the lower their risk was for the following:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
One reason for this could be because coffee is rich in antioxidants, compounds that protect you from cell damage leading to chronic illnesses such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. These are conditions that may significantly lower your lifespan. While studies show that hot coffee contains more antioxidants compared to cold coffee, the latter has potent antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, hydroxycinnamates, caffeoylquinic acid, and polyphenols.
Has the Same Caffeine Content as Hot Coffee
Cold brew coffee will usually be made concentrated and is meant to be diluted in water using a 1:1 ratio, and can be very strong when used alone. When used undiluted, it will contain around 200 milligrams of caffeine in every cup. But once it’s diluted as required, the amount of caffeine it carries will go down to a rate closer to regular coffee.
While the amount of caffeine will vary depending on how you brew it, the difference between cold coffee and hot coffee isn’t too big. The average cup of hot coffee will contain around 95 mg of caffeine while cold coffee will have around 100 mg.
It’s so Easy to Make
During hot summer days, sometimes all you need is a cup of cold coffee to get the energy boost you need. The good news is that you can make your own cold coffee from the convenience of your home. Start by buying whole roasted coffee beans online or locally and grind them until you get a coarse texture.
Next, add 1 cup of coffee grounds in a jar and slowly stir in four cups of room temperature water, then cover the jar and allow the coffee to steep inside your fridge between 12 to 24 hours. Place a cloth into a mesh strainer and pour your steeped coffee into a different jar. Get rid of the excess solids or you may save them to use elsewhere.
The liquid you’ve collected is the coffee concentrate you can use for your drinks — cover your jar with an airtight lid inside the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you want to drink it, add ½ cup of cold water to ½ cup of coffee concentrate, and you may pour it over ice if desired.
A lot of people love cold coffee because it’s a healthier and enjoyable alternative to hot coffee that can be easily made at home without the need for a French Press. It offers many health benefits and is also less bitter and less acidic, which makes it more tolerable for those with stomach sensitivities. If you’re looking to try something new or want something other than black coffee, then try iced coffee and see how it compares.
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