Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide.
It’s rich in an array of beneficial compounds that may help maintain optimal health and protect you from certain diseases.
Coffee is also thought to help reduce inflammation, at least in some people.
This article reviews coffee’s effects on inflammation and whether decaffeinated coffee has the same effects.
Contains a complex mixture of active compounds
Regular coffee contains a complex mixture of active compounds, including caffeine, chlorogenic acid (CGA), cafestol, trigonelline, and kahweol. Decaffeinated coffee contains the same compounds, although it contains little to no caffeine.
Studies suggest that the compounds in coffee have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that likely benefit your health.
Experts believe that their presence may explain why drinking coffee — whether it’s regular or decaf — is often linked to a lower risk of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and possibly even certain types of cancer.
Summary: Coffee contains active compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce low-grade inflammation and protect against certain diseases.
Coffee’s effects on inflammation
Current research suggests that coffee may help reduce inflammation, at least in certain individuals.
In one study, regular coffee drinkers had lower levels of inflammatory markers than non-regular coffee drinkers.
In another study, regular coffee drinkers experienced a 6% increase in their inflammatory marker levels when asked to refrain from drinking coffee for one month.
In comparison, they experienced an 8–16% reduction in inflammatory markers when asked to consume either 32 or 64 ounces (0.9 or 1.9 liters) of coffee per day for the same period.
Moreover, a review of 15 studies on the effects of coffee, caffeine, and other coffee-related components on inflammatory markers found that low, medium, and high coffee intake has predominantly anti-inflammatory effects.
Nevertheless, some evidence suggests that coffee may increase inflammation in some people. Therefore, individual differences in genetics or other factors likely influence coffee’s effect on inflammation.
Inflammation can lead to various effects, including frequent infections, fatigue, pain, and digestive problems. If you experience these while drinking coffee, consider reducing your intake to see whether doing so helps.
Summary: Coffee may help reduce inflammation in most people. However, some people may experience increased inflammation following coffee consumption. If this applies to you, consider reducing your intake.
Does decaf coffee have the same effect?
There aren’t many studies comparing the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on inflammation.
Yet, one review reported that while coffee generally reduces inflammation, caffeine supplements don’t appear to offer the same effects.
This suggests that compounds other than caffeine in coffee may be responsible for this beverage’s anti-inflammatory effect.
Decaffeinated coffee contains the same beneficial compounds as coffee, except for caffeine.
It may be expected to offer the same anti-inflammatory benefits as regular coffee. Still, more research is needed to confirm this.
Summary: Decaffeinated coffee is likely to have the same inflammation-lowering effects as regular coffee. However, more studies are needed to confirm this before solid conclusions can be made.
Coffee is a popular beverage rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.
Research suggests that drinking coffee — even in small amounts — may help reduce inflammation. This may lower your risk of certain conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and perhaps even certain types of cancer.
Suggested read: Green tea vs. coffee: Which is better for your health?
Nonetheless, coffee may increase inflammation in some people. If you suspect this is the case for you, consider reducing or limiting your coffee intake to evaluate whether doing so improves any of your inflammation-related symptoms.