Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Café Aficionado: Green coffee

Green coffee isn't new. There are those who believe that its cultivation originated in Arabia on the Red Sea over 900 years ago, and that at the time, the beans were not roasted but brewed in a manner quite similar to tea.

Roasted coffee certainly has its benefits too. Roasting coffee produces unique cancer-suppressing compounds not found in green coffee.  And since most people globally consume roasted coffee, the vast majority of studies performed on coffee's health benefits are on the roasted form.

In addition, there may also be unique mood-enhancing, even opiate-like properties in the roasted coffee bean associated with the fat-soluble compound known as cafestol, which may not be found (or easily absorbed) in green coffee. But such benefit may also be a liability for those who may be prone to drinking too much, or addicted to coffee.

What is green coffee?  According to Wikipedia, “green coffee refers to coffee produced from coffee beans that have not been roasted. Cultivation of coffee beans originated around 1100 AD in the area of Arabia on the Red Sea. At that time, roasting was not yet practiced so unroasted coffee beans were brewed to create a beverage similar to tea. Green beans are still utilized in some forms of traditional Arabic coffee.”

Green coffee had already been studied over thirty years ago for its possible liver-regenerating, detoxifying and anti-cancer properties.  It has been found that it contains far higher in sheer antioxidant potential than roasted coffee, and most any other beverages or fruits, such as blueberries and oranges.

Some green coffee bean extracts score 2500 or higher on the ORAC scale, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – an abstract measurement of the potential for a substance to reduce oxidative stress. Compare this to an equal weight of blueberries, which scores 10, or Oranges which score 3.

What are the likely health benefits of green coffee?  The primary finding is that it has beneficial blood pressure modulating properties, as well as weight loss-inducing qualities.

According to GreenMedInfo, the other healing properties of green coffee are:

Green Coffee Lowers Blood Pressure

Back in 2005, a study published in the journal Hypertension Research found that male volunteers with mild hypertension given various doses of a water-soluble green coffee bean extract (GCE) saw significant reductions , in a dose-related manner, in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.[vi]  The subjects received either 46 mg, 93 mg, or 185 mg of GCE once a day for 28 days.

Another study performed in 2006 found similar blood pressure lowering results using 140 mg/day green coffee bean extract of chlorogenic acid.

Finally, a study performed in 2007 found that green coffee is superior to roasted coffee in reducing blood pressure, due to its lower levels of hydroxyhydroquinone, a by-product of the roasting process. The ordinary coffee group experienced almost no effect.

Green Coffee Reduces Weight and Body Mass Index, and May Improve Type 2 Diabetes

In the most widely publicized study on green coffee, Dr. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton lead a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled crossover study which found that the consumption of green coffee bean extract reduced weight in obese subjects.

Subjects received either a high dose green coffee extract (1050 mg), a lower dose (700 mg) or a placebo for six-weeks, followed by a two-week washout period to reduce any influence of preceding treatment. Primary measurements were body weight, body mass index, and percent body fat. Blood pressure and heart rate were also measured.

The results were a significant reduction in observed body weight: "(-8.04± 2.31 kg), body mass index (-2.92 ± 0.85 kg/m(2)), and percent body fat (-4.44% ± 2.00%), as well as a small decrease in heart rate (-2.56 ± 2.85 beats per minute)." There we no significant changes to the diet over the course of the study, and impressively, body mass index for six subjects shifted from preobesity to the normal weight range.

The study concluded: "The results are consistent with human and animal studies and a meta-analysis of the efficacy of green coffee extract in weight loss. The results suggest that GCA may be an effective nutraceutical in reducing weight in preobese adults, and may be an inexpensive means of preventing obesity in overweight adults."

Dr. Vinson believes that green coffee's uniquely high concentration of chlorogenic acid relative to the roasted form may be responsible for some of its observed weight-loss promoting effects. Chlorogenic acid is known to increase the absorption of glucose, which offsets some of the insulin resistance and blood sugar elevations associated with type 2 diabetes. Indeed, there is a solid body of clinical literature linking chlorogenic acid to the well-known anti-diabetic properties of coffee .

So, is green coffee just another fad?  elative to some of the pharmaceutical interventions used today to treat overweight and obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, the research thus far indicates green coffee may become a promising natural alternative.

For additional research on Weight Problems and Hypertension, visit GreenMedInfo.

Green coffee photo by GreenMedInfo

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  1. Hello Eric,

    I don't drink coffee now and have not even heard of green coffee but I do remember eating the coffee fruit (do you call it a fruit?)when I was younger since there were coffee plants near my home then. There is some flesh you can bite on before the seed (bean).

    It seems you've move so far away from the time I was reading your old blog before as Senor Enrique and You are now in Bohol as Tito Eric! Have you seen all there is to see in Manila?

    Anyway wish you have an exciting journey to wellness and spiritual strength.


  2. Hello Eric,

    I'm glad to see that we have a common passion. I'm a new follower of your blog and I'm here to stay. ;-)

    Keep the good work going!

    You take care.