As someone who loves and drinks coffee a lot, you’ve probably been in a situation where you can’t help but eat coffee beans as a snack. If so, you might notice that it brings a feeling of increased alertness and concentration every time you do so, similar to what usually happens when you drink a cup of coffee. So, does eating coffee beans actually give you energy?
Believe it or not, eating coffee beans does, in fact, give you a boost of energy, as well as other health benefits. However, the way it works is entirely different from what you’re used to.
Read on as we go over eight things you may not know about coffee beans and what you can and should can expect after popping a couple of these munchable seeds onto your mouth.
1. Eating Coffee Beans Is Safe
Let’s not kid ourselves; this is most likely the first question that comes to mind when you are introduced to the idea of eating coffee beans.
Is it safe? Should I first consult my doctor?
Fortunately, yes, it is safe to eat coffee beans. And no, you don’t have to consult your doctor unless you consult your doctor whenever you try out a new snack because coffee beans are very much like a snack. In fact, if you’ve been to your local supermarkets, you might’ve come across chocolate-covered coffee beans in one of the aisles that primarily consists of snacks.
And before you ask any further, yes, you can eat coffee beans raw.
2. You Can Eat Raw Coffee Beans
Since there’s really no toxic compound found in raw coffee beans, it should be edible, much like roasted coffee beans. However, the taste might be unpleasant, as most consumers find them to have a woody or grassy flavor, not to mention hard to chew. Furthermore, raw coffee beans are highly acidic since the acids are broken down during the roasting process.
On the other hand, roasted coffee is softer and has a bit of a caramel taste due to the roasting process. But note that they still retain a level of bitterness.
That’s why you’ll often find chocolate-covered roasted coffee beans in your supermarket. The bitterness of coffee and the sweetness of the chocolate makes for the perfect combination.
Nevertheless, if you want to give raw coffee beans a try, feel free to do so. After all, you may find them to be more appetizing than the regular roasted coffee beans.
3. The Boost Of Energy Comes Sooner Than When You Drink Coffee
When you drink coffee, caffeine enters your body, starting from the stomach to the small intestine and into your bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the compound stimulates several parts of your body, including your nerves, brain, and spinal cord.
It works by blocking the effects of a particular compound called adenosine—an organic compound that slows down the activity of your body’s neurons. The body produces adenosine throughout the day when you’re awake to make sure you feel sleepy by the end of the day.
Caffeine also triggers the release of adrenaline in your body, further increasing your energy temporarily. However, as one might expect, this phenomenon does not happen immediately.
It usually takes a while before the caffeine successfully gets into the bloodstream. For most people, it can be as soon as 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes, depending on the strength of the beverage. But take note that this only applies to its liquid state and not with coffee beans.
When eating coffee beans, you’ll usually feel the effects after only three minutes. This is one of the many differences between drinking and eating coffee, but that’s not all.
4. Its Effects Are Usually Short-Lived
Caffeine typically stays in your system for up to several hours and peaks about one hour after consumption. This means the level of energy is usually the highest after one hour.
Experts also suggest that half of the caffeine still remains even after six hours. Take note, however, that this may vary from person to person depending on their tolerance. Nevertheless, these should be the numbers for the average joe, but again, this doesn’t apply to coffee beans.
While they do enter your bloodstream much faster, their effects also diminish at a rapid rate, so you may no longer feel the increased alertness and energy after roughly three hours.
5. There Are Several Types Of Coffee Beans
According to experts, eight coffee beans provide an equal amount of caffeine as one cup of coffee. However, that’s not entirely true since there are several types of coffee beans.
For example, an arabica coffee bean has around 6 milligrams of caffeine, while a robusta bean contains 12 milligrams. Meanwhile, a cup of coffee (100 grams) has 40 mg of caffeine.
This means while eight coffee arabica coffee beans are roughly the same as a cup of coffee, it takes only four robusta beans to exceed this amount. Furthermore, a portion of that amount is lost during the roasting and brewing process, meaning the caffeine your cup of coffee contains may be considerably lower than 40 milligrams, depending on your brewing or roasting technique.
6. Your Body Can Only Take A Limited Number Of Coffee Beans
While it is indeed safe to consume coffee beans, you must only do so in moderation, especially since your body can only handle a limited number of them. But how many, exactly?
Again, it depends on the type of coffee bean. If we’re talking about arabica coffee beans, then you can only take up to 30 of them, as it would equate to 180 milligrams of caffeine. That’s roughly the same as four cups of coffee, which is the safe amount for most people.
However, if you’re pregnant or are sensitive to caffeine, this number may be a lot lower. Any more than this may have a negative impact on your overall health.
Unfortunately, experts are yet to determine the safe caffeine levels for children and teens. What we do know is that they’re likely to be highly sensitive to the effects of caffeine, so their limit should be lower than 30 coffee beans. Also, before you stuff your mouth with 30 chocolate coffee beans, remember that this particular variety contains high amounts of fat and sugar.
While the caffeine content is at safe levels, the fat and sugar content is exceedingly high. Either stick with roasted coffee beans or limit your intake on the chocolate-covered variety.
So, what would happen if you were to exceed this limit?
7. You Can Experience Side Effects More Easily With Coffee Beans
At this point, it should be apparent that coffee beans have a stronger effect than a regular cup of coffee. But it’s important to note that this applies not only to its caffeine effects but also to its side effects. In other words, you can experience side effects more easily with coffee beans than you would when drinking water. Here’s a closer look at examples of these side effects:
Coffee, specifically coffee beans, is known to contain catechols—a compound that can potentially increase stomach acid, which may then lead to an upset stomach.
This, in turn, can lead to a variety of health problems, such as:
Studies suggest that people with sensitive stomachs are more vulnerable to these side effects.
A recent study shows that people who have eaten coffee beans display signs of diarrhea. Some also suffered from other bowel conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, they have yet to discover the culprit of this particular side effect, as they found that caffeine has nothing to do with the coffee beans’ laxative effects.
While the primary purpose of coffee is to provide a boost in concentration, alertness, and energy, there are times when these can go out of hand. If you eat too many coffee beans, for example, you may struggle to sleep. If you do manage to sleep, you may find yourself exhausted.
Again, to clarify, these side effects may and will only take place in your body if you exceed the limit (30 coffee beans a day). Otherwise, there shouldn’t be any problem eating coffee beans.
Similarly, eating coffee beans may lead to benefits if you consume only the right amount.
8. Eating Coffee Beans Comes With An Assortment Of Benefits
It has long been established that coffee as a beverage has several benefits, but only a few have tried to uncover the advantages of eating coffee beans. Fortunately, these two means of coffee consumption are pretty similar in terms of benefits.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of eating coffee beans:
Coffee Beans Can Protect You Against Diseases
It’s no secret that coffee contains a good amount of antioxidants, which are essential for fighting against diseases, and yes, coffee beans are the same. In fact, coffee beans contain much more antioxidants than their liquid counterpart.
Coffee Bean Extracts May Reduce Blood Pressure
Studies suggest that coffee bean extracts can potentially reduce blood pressure and regulate blood sugar, which can effectively reduce your risk of stroke.
Other potential benefits of coffee beans include weight loss and cholesterol regulation. Much like with side effects, these benefits are only achievable if you maintain a healthy amount of coffee bean intake.
Many people consider the habit of eating coffee beans as an unhealthy habit, but that should no longer be the case, at least for you, especially now with this guide. In fact, coffee beans are a reliable source of caffeine, seeing as how they’re cheaper and are easier to consume. Of course, it’s still a matter of preference, but this guide should give you peace of mind that eating coffee beans is by no means an unhealthy habit.