Spoiler alert: it has many unexpected benefits. Instant coffee is very popular in many regions of the world. In some countries, it can even account for more than 50% of all coffee consumption. Instant coffee is also faster, cheaper, and easier to prepare than regular coffee.
You may be aware that drinking regular coffee is associated with many health benefits, but wonder if the same benefits apply to an instant coffee
This article explains everything you need to know about instant coffee and its health effects.
What is instant coffee?
Instant coffee is coffee made from dry coffee extract. Like regular coffee, the extract is obtained by brewing ground coffee beans, although it is more concentrated. After brewing, the water is removed from the extract to produce dry fragments or powder that dissolve when added to water.
There are two main ways to make instant coffee:
- Spray drying. The coffee extract is sprayed with hot air, which quickly dries the droplets and turns them into fine powder or small pieces.
- Freeze drying. The coffee extract is frozen and cuts into small fragments, which are then dried at a low temperature under a vacuum. Both methods preserve the quality, aroma, and flavor of the coffee.
The most common way to make instant coffee is to add one teaspoon of powder to a cup of hot water. The strength of the coffee can be easily adjusted by adding more or less powder to the cup.
Instant coffee contains antioxidants and nutrients. Coffee is the largest source of antioxidants in the modern diet. Its high antioxidant content is believed to be responsible for many of its associated health benefits.
Just like regular coffee, instant coffee contains many powerful antioxidants. According to one study, instant coffee may contain even higher amounts of certain antioxidants than other types of coffee because of the way it is processed.
In addition, one standard cup of instant coffee contains only 7 calories and small amounts of potassium, magnesium, and niacin (vitamin B3).
Instant coffee contains slightly less caffeine
Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world, and coffee is its largest dietary source. However, instant coffee usually contains slightly less caffeine than regular coffee.
One cup of instant coffee containing one teaspoon of powder can contain 30-90 mg of caffeine, while one cup of regular coffee contains 70-140 mg. Since caffeine sensitivity varies from person to person, instant coffee may be a better choice for those who need to cut back on their caffeine intake.
Instant coffee is also available in decaf, which contains even less caffeine. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety, sleep disturbance, anxiety, upset stomach, tremors, and heart palpitations.
Instant coffee contains more acrylamide
Acrylamide is a potentially harmful chemical that is produced when coffee beans are roasted. This chemical is also commonly found in a wide range of foods, smoke, household items, and personal care products.
Interestingly, instant coffee can contain twice as much acrylamide as freshly roasted coffee. Excessive exposure to acrylamide can damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer.
However, the amount of acrylamide you are exposed to through diet and coffee is much lower than the amount that has been proven to be harmful. Therefore, drinking instant coffee should not raise concerns about acrylamide exposure.
Just like regular coffee, instant coffee can have several health benefits. Drinking coffee is associated with many health benefits. Considering that instant coffee contains the same antioxidants and nutrients as regular coffee, it should have almost the same health effects.
Instant coffee can:
- Improve brain function. The caffeine it contains can improve brain function.
- Increase metabolism. Its caffeine can increase your metabolism and help you burn more fat.
- Reduce the risk of disease. Coffee can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Reduce the risk of diabetes. Coffee can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Improve liver health. Coffee and caffeine can reduce the risk of liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
- Improve mental health. Coffee can help reduce the risk of depression and suicide.
- Promote longevity. Drinking coffee can help you live longer.
However, it is important to remember that many of these studies were observational. Such studies cannot prove that coffee reduces the risk of disease – only that people who drink coffee regularly are less likely to get sick.
If you are wondering how much coffee to drink, the best option would be to consume 3-5 cups of instant coffee daily. Studies often associate this amount with maximum risk reduction.