Can you eat coffee beans?
In fact, eating coffee beans was the original method of ingesting them.
Consuming whole beans actually gives you more of the bean’s amazing health benefits because you’re eating the entire bean.
When you make coffee you’re merely steeping the bean and leaving the spent grounds (i.e. fiber) and many helpful compounds behind.
Plus, brewed coffee only extracts about 80% of the bean’s caffeine content!
(And let’s face it, coffee drinkers really love caffeine.)
The following image shows me pouring out a serving of beans to munch on before meetings this morning.
Blue Horse 100% Kona coffee from the Big Island, Hawaii. Shade-grown and hand-picked on a family estate, these beans are the product of the island’s volcanic past (and present!). I can’t recommend them enough if you like rich, bold coffee.
That’s 75 coffee beans weighing approximately 10 grams. Each gram of coffee has about 15 milligrams of caffeine, so this serving has around 150 milligrams.
That’s about as much caffeine as a strong/large cup of coffee.
Coffee beans can be dry and chalky, especially if you devour dark roasts like I am above, but if you grab a smooth, oily medium roast it can be a heavenly departure from your normal morning snack.
7 Compelling Reasons You Should Be Eating Coffee Beans
Coffee beans have a whole host of benefits. Though many people associate coffee the beverage with achieving these benefits, grabbing a fistful of flavorful coffee beans is a convenient way of getting your daily fix!
1. Coffee Beans Are the BEST Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They decrease our risk of cancers, vision loss and other degenerative disorders by fighting the dreaded free radicals, which damage our cells by oxidizing various molecules (hence why antioxidants called anti-oxidants).
Vitamins E and C are antioxidants. (Betcha didn’t know that!)
Unfortunately, most people don’t get as many antioxidants as they need.
Over 90% of adults fail to get the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, according to the Director of Antioxidants Research at the prestigious Tufts University.
The average adult’s diet just doesn’t have as many fruits and vegetables as it should.
Enter coffee beans. They pack more than 6 different antioxidants to get you over the recommended threshold:
- Chlorogenic Acid
Yes, caffeine is an antioxidant!
But coffee isn’t just a source of antioxidants. It’s the best source!
Antioxidant power is measured on a scale called FRAP, or Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power. Here’s how coffee stacks up with some other renowned sources of antioxidants:
Coffee Beans have 11 times the antioxidant power of green tea!
2. Improve your memory
Many of the positive health benefits of caffeine are tied to the fact it’s an antioxidant, but that’s not caffeine’s whole story.
In a 2013 study by Johns Hopkins University, students were gives 200 milligrams of caffeine after a period of studying. Researchers found that caffeine helped students consolidate memories, “reducing forgetting” as one researcher put it, up to 24 hours after ingesting it.
The good news for you? That 200 milligram dose is the same as the average adult’s daily intake!
3. Decrease post-exercise muscle pain
Caffeine decreased post-exercise muscle pain by 48% according to a 2017 study. By comparison, the active ingredient in Aleve reduced pain by 30% and aspirin reduced pain by 25%.
There are a couple caveats about that particular study, though; it focused only on women (so the jury is still out for men) and it noted regular caffeine consumers may not experience the same benefits.
However, a study of distance cyclers found that 400 milligram doses of caffeine prior to activity may still be effective for habitual coffee consumers. That’s about double the average adult’s daily dose.
Related: How Does Coffee Affect Weight Loss?
So next time you’re heading to the gym, reach for a handful of coffee beans.
4. Increase stamina during exercise
Not only will you feel better after exercising, you’ll also get a better workout!
People who consumed both caffeine and carbs after working out had 66% more glycogen in their muscles after activity compared to people who consumed carbs alone.
Because glycogen is the fuel used for athletic activity, the caffeine-plus-carbs group was able to exercise longer and harder the next day.
Another study found 15 kilometer runners who consumed coffee prior to working out had improved anti-inflammatory responses during and after their run.
5. Coffee beans have half the calories of peanuts
If you do reach for that handful, you can rest assured knowing coffee beans have 1/2 the calories, 1/5 the fat and 4x the fiber of the same portion of roasted peanuts.
(Peanuts do have a lot more protein, though.)
6. For the men out there, decreased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED)
Consuming a measly 85 milligrams of caffeine every day — 43% of the average adult’s daily intake — could be enough to fight off ED, according to the University of Texas Medical Center.
7. Decrease long-term, chronic inflammation
Age gracefully and with less pain by munching on a few coffee beans every day.
Researchers from Stanford University found caffeine blocks a specific gene responsible for chronic inflammation, which affects how we feel day-to-day and has been associated with all-cause mortality in 85 and older individuals.
Have you ever tried eating coffee beans? How was it?! Comment below to let us know!