As a coffee lover, I was recently introduced to the concept of coffee fruit and its potential health benefits. At first, I was skeptical – how could the fruit of a coffee plant have any benefits? But after digging deeper and doing some research, I discovered that coffee fruit, also known as coffee cherry, is a powerful superfood with a range of health benefits. In this article, I’ll explore the nutritional value of coffee cherry, its surprising health benefits, and how you can incorporate it into your diet.
Introduction to Coffee Fruit
Coffee fruit is the fruit of the coffee plant, which is native to the highlands of Ethiopia but is now grown in many countries around the world. The fruit is about the size of a cherry and has a thin, edible skin surrounding a fleshy pulp. Inside the pulp are two coffee beans, which are the seeds of the plant and are used to make coffee.
For many years, coffee fruit was considered a waste product in the coffee industry, and was either discarded or used as fertilizer. But in recent years, scientists have discovered that coffee fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients, making it a valuable ingredient in its own right.
What is Coffee Cherry?
Coffee cherry, or coffee fruit, is the fruit of the coffee plant. It is about the size of a cherry and has a thin, edible skin surrounding a fleshy pulp. Inside the pulp are two coffee beans, which are the seeds of the plant and are used to make coffee.
While coffee beans are roasted and ground to make coffee, coffee cherry is often processed into a juice or extract, which can be used in a variety of ways. Coffee cherry extract is becoming increasingly popular as a health supplement, due to its high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients.
Nutritional Value of Coffee Cherry
Coffee cherry is a rich source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect your body against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells, leading to inflammation and disease.
In addition to antioxidants, coffee cherry is also high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients play important roles in maintaining overall health and preventing disease.
The Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee Cherry Extract
Research has shown that coffee cherry extract may have a range of health benefits. Here are just a few of the ways that coffee cherry extract may be able to improve your health:
1. Boosts brain function
Coffee cherry extract contains compounds that may help improve brain function, including caffeine and chlorogenic acid. These compounds have been shown to improve cognitive performance and may help protect against age-related decline in brain function.
2. Reduces inflammation
Coffee cherry extract is high in antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. By reducing inflammation, coffee cherry extract may help lower the risk of these diseases.
3. Helps with weight loss
Some studies have suggested that coffee cherry extract may help with weight loss. One study found that mice fed a high-fat diet and given coffee cherry extract gained less weight than mice that did not receive the extract. While more research is needed in humans, this suggests that coffee cherry extract may have potential as a weight loss supplement.
4. Improves cardiovascular health
Coffee cherry extract may also have benefits for cardiovascular health. One study found that healthy adults who took a coffee cherry extract supplement for 28 days had lower blood pressure and improved blood flow compared to those who did not take the supplement.
Can You Eat Coffee Cherries?
Yes, you can eat coffee cherries! In fact, coffee cherry is a common ingredient in many traditional dishes in coffee-growing regions. The fruit can be eaten fresh, or used in jams, jellies, and other recipes.
However, it’s worth noting that coffee cherry contains caffeine, so eating too much of it could lead to caffeine-related side effects like jitters, anxiety, and insomnia. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it’s best to consume coffee cherry in moderation.
How to Incorporate Coffee Cherry into Your Diet
There are many ways to incorporate coffee cherry into your diet. Here are a few ideas:
1. Drink coffee cherry juice
Coffee cherry juice is a popular way to consume coffee cherry. Look for juice made from 100% coffee cherry, with no added sugars or preservatives.
2. Add coffee cherry extract to smoothies
Coffee cherry extract can be added to smoothies for a nutritional boost. Just be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the package.
3. Use coffee cherry in recipes
Coffee cherry can be used in a variety of recipes, from jams and jellies to baked goods and desserts. Experiment with different recipes to find your favorite way to enjoy coffee cherry.
Coffee Cherry Plant and Harvesting Process
The coffee cherry plant is a small tree that grows in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The plant produces fruit, or cherries, that contain two coffee beans each.
The harvesting process for coffee cherry involves picking the ripe cherries by hand or machine. Once the cherries are harvested, they are either processed into coffee beans or into coffee cherry juice or extract.
Sustainability and Coffee Fruit
Coffee fruit is a sustainable ingredient, as it is often considered a waste product in the coffee industry. By using coffee fruit, companies can reduce waste and create a valuable ingredient that has a range of health benefits.
Does Coffee Fruit Have Caffeine?
Yes, coffee fruit contains caffeine, although in lower amounts than coffee beans. The amount of caffeine in coffee cherry varies depending on the variety of coffee plant and the processing method used.
Coffee Cherry Extract Products and Supplements
There are many coffee cherry extract products and supplements available on the market. When choosing a product, look for one that is made from 100% coffee cherry extract, with no added sugars or artificial ingredients. It’s also a good idea to check the dosage instructions and consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
Coffee cherry, or coffee fruit, is a powerful superfood with a range of health benefits. It’s a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients, and may be able to improve brain function, reduce inflammation, aid in weight loss, and improve cardiovascular health. Whether you choose to drink coffee cherry juice, add coffee cherry extract to your smoothies, or incorporate coffee cherry into your recipes, there are many ways to enjoy the benefits of this nutritious ingredient.