As the the search for a magic pill for weight loss continues, green coffee is the latest product to draw the attention of weight watchers. But the truth is that we are far away from a simple solution to deal with the growing burden of obesity. Green coffee is, at best, among the many novel foods which have special health properties and can be useful only as part of an overall healthy diet and exercise plan.
Coffee is produced from ‘red berries’, believed to have been discovered by a goat herder around 850 AD, in the Kefa region of North Africa (now part of Ethiopia). Coffee was introduced in Europe in the 16th century, and is now one of the most traded food products globally.
The mature red coffee berries are picked and then its outer pulp is removed.The removal of this cover reveals the green coffee beans. The green beans are roasted till they attain a dark brown or black colour, which is then used to make the regular coffee that we consume.
Green coffee refers to unroasted coffee beans, and has a mild aroma, which is very different from the fragrance of roasted coffee beverages.
Regular roasted coffee is consumed primarily because of its stimulating effect, triggered by the presence of caffeine in it. Both green and roasted coffee have comparable caffeine content. Roasted coffee is believed to have potential health benefits, including reduced incidence of several chronic degenerative diseases, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disorders. It is also believed useful in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, primarily owing to the presence of bioactive compounds and caffeine.
Lately, green coffee extract is being recognised as a weight loss supplement, due to cholorogenic acid (CGA). CGA is a phenolic compound with antioxidant properties. Its antioxidant capacity is believed to be more potent than Vitamin C. Roasted coffee loses more than 70 per cent of its CGA content.
CGAs are known to have anti-carcinogenic and heart protective properties. Recent animal studies also report that chlorogenic acid appears to reduce glucose absorption, which plays a protective role in diabetes and weight management. Green coffee extract may also play an important role in maintaining heart health.
For many, coffee is the principal dietary source of caffeine. Caffeine consumption is known to increase metabolic rate, aid in weight loss and reduce the overall risk for developing metabolic syndrome. Preliminary research suggests that the ‘cafestol’ and ‘kahweol’ in green coffee protects the liver from chemical damage.
Consumption of green coffee appears to render health benefits, especially for metabolic health and obesity. However, more research is needed to support these findings. Meanwhile, it will not hurt to introduce this aromatic berry in your beverage menu.