When was the last time you had a nice hot cup of green coffee? Let me help you answer that question. Probably never. Green coffee is very different from regular coffee. And they don’t serve green coffee down at Bob’s Cafe. So, what is green coffee? And, why should you even think about drinking it?
Green coffee is coffee made from coffee beans in their natural state, just like they come off the bush. Regular coffee, the kind we are used to, is made from green coffee beans that have been roasted. The roasting process is what gives coffee its wonderful aroma and flavor.
But roasting also changes the coffee to a less healthy drink.
Researchers recently reported their findings on the effect of green coffee on endothelial function. I have talked about endothelial function before. The endothelial cells are the cells that line the arteries and capillaries. Among other things, they produce the nitric oxide that you are hearing so much about these days. When they are functioning well, the endothelial cells cause our arteries to relax, and the circulation is optimal. But the problem is that as we get older, especially in people with a risk for high blood pressure or heart disease, the endothelial cells don’t function as well. The result is decreased circulation, increased blood pressure, and a higher risk for strokes and heart disease.
For the study, the researchers employed 37 men and women with borderline or early stage hypertension. First, they measured their endothelial function. Then they gave them a single cup of coffee. They gave some of them green coffee, others regular coffee from roasted coffee beans, and others a placebo. They used what is called a crossover protocol, which means that all of the men and women were eventually given one of the three choices.
Then, one and two hours after they drank either the green coffee, the regular coffee, or the placebo, the researchers checked their endothelial function again. Amazingly, they discovered that the green coffee significantly improved the endothelial function and that this effect held up for at least two hours. The regular coffee and the placebo had no effect. So, what’s going on here?
Coffee contains two different substances that are important for endothelial function. One is chlorogenic acid and the other is hydroxyhydroquinone. Previous studies with rats have shown that endothelial function is improved when the little critters are given chlorogenic acid. And that’s not all. The studies also showed that this positive effect of chlorogenic acid was blocked by hydroxyhydroquinone. The results of this study show that humans are affected by the ratio of chlorogenic acid to hydroxyhydroquinone in the same way. And it’s why drinking green coffee might be one of the more healthy things we can do.
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In its natural state as green coffee beans, coffee contains an abundance of chlorogenic acids and very little hydroxyhydroquinone. But all that changes during roasting. When coffee beans are roasted the chlorogenic acid is decreased and the hydroxyhydroquinone is increased. And that makes green coffee a much healthier drink than regular coffee. But what about blood pressure?
The authors of the study point out that although there’s some evidence that in certain people regular coffee can increase blood pressure, green coffee has the opposite effect. According to the authors, “Some clinical studies have shown that coffee with a high content of chlorogenic acids and a low content of hydroxyhydroquinone is effective for reducing blood pressure with mild hypertension.” They also concluded that drinking green coffee can prevent circulatory diseases across the board.
Maintaining youthful endothelial function as we get older is one of the most important goals we can aim for. So, I encourage you to consider making green coffee a part of your daily ritual. Green coffee does not look, smell, or taste like coffee made from roasted coffee beans. It looks green, and has a mild flavor, and a neutral, slightly herbal taste. It’s not bitter like regular coffee or like green tea. You can buy whole green coffee beans online. Here’s how you make it.
The Grinding Method
- Because green coffee beans are unroasted, they are very hard to grind. You will need a heavy duty grinder for them.
- Use the French press method. You can buy a French press at many stores. Add a teaspoon of the ground coffee and some hot water to the press.
- Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes and then strain and drink.
The Boiling Method
- Soak the beans overnight in water.
- Boil the mixture, and then simmer on low flame for 15 minutes. Give an occasional stir.
- Cool the mixture, remove the beans, and drink.
Both methods work great, and it makes a wonderful energy drink. Whatever method you use, be sure to drink the coffee right away. It will lose its potency after only one to two hours. I like to add in some cardamom for flavor. And if all this sounds like too much for you, there’s an easier way. You can buy green coffee extract, green coffee powders, and green coffee capsules and skip the whole coffee making procedure.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD