Coffee Fruit Nutrition vs. Coffee Beans

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Coffee Fruit Nutrition vs. Coffee Beans: How Do They Compare

Coffee beans are widely known for their health benefits, rich aroma, and flavor. But the coffee fruit is usually ignored instead of having various antioxidants and health-promoting properties. It can fight against cancer, improve immune function, and boost brainpower.

So one thing will come into your mind: is coffee fruit, and can we add it in our daily diet?  If you want to know the answer, take a closer look at coffee fruit, its comparison with coffee beans, its history, benefits, and usage.  

What is the coffee fruit?

Coffee fruit is also known as coffee berry or coffee cherry. It is a small fruit (red or purple color) produced by the coffee plant having a pit in the middle that contains coffee beans. Many types of researches have confirmed the positive health effects of the coffee fruit.  Now food manufacturers are finding new ways to include it in the diet in the form of drinks, baked goods, supplements for an antioxidant-rich treatment.

Difference between Coffee Fruit and Coffee Beans 

Coffee beans are the seeds of coffee berries. During coffee production, the coffee fruit is discarded, the beans are roasted, grounded, and filled in the bottles for making hot beverages that we all know and love. Most of the coffee fruits contain two coffee beans. Only a small amount contains just one bean that has a richer and stronger flavor than regular coffee beans.

Can we compare coffee beans and coffee fruit in terms of flavor and nutrition? Coffee fruit is a good option for the starters who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine because the content of caffeine in this fruit is lower than the beans.

Both beans and fruit are loaded with antioxidants, but the amount of antioxidants compounds may differ. For example, research explains that the roasted coffee beans have fewer levels of chlorogenic acids than the natural plant compounds (Moon, J. K., Yoo, H. S., & Shibamoto, T. 2009).

Coffee beans are used after roasting and sold as ground coffee or whole bean coffee. On the other hand, the coffee fruit is added to drinks and supplements for extra nutrients and flavor.

History/Facts

Coffee beans were discovered in 850 A.D. by an Ethiopian goatherder called Kaldi. He noticed his goat chewing red coffee cherries and becoming more energetic, which encouraged him to sample the fruit himself. He bought that coffee berries to a monastery, but no one gave importance to the fruit. The monk threw them into the fire; as a result, they found a delicious coffee aroma and leading to make the world’s first cup of coffee.

The first documented discovery of the coffee fruit was around the 1500s in Yemen. After Yemen, the plant was exported to many other parts of the world. Coffee was first cultivated in 1730 in some parts of South America. Now, Brazil and South America are the top producers of coffee.

At present, about 54% of adults in the USA drink coffee every day, with an average of about three cups a day with new variations. Unfortunately, the coffee production method involves removing the coffee beans from the fruit and wasting a significant amount of coffee fruit (leaving it to rot or dumping it into the rivers).

Recently, the food industry started to find new and innovative ways to take maximum health benefits from the coffee fruit. Moreover, all parts of the coffee plants are used to promote sustainability.  

5 Benefits of Coffee Fruit

The following are the five main health benefits of coffee fruit:

  1. High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to fight against damage to the cell and oxidative stress. Some studies have found that antioxidants can help to reduce the risk o heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and many other chronic conditions. Coffee fruit has a significant amount of antioxidants to prevent diseases and optimize your health (Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. 2008).

  1. Promotes Brain Health

BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) is a protein that is very important for neuronal health. It helps in the growth of new neurons and supports existing brain cells. It is also helpful in long term memory formation and storage.

The coffee fruit extract has a significant relation with the BDNF level. According to a study, coffee fruit powder increase the level of BDNF, which is more than green coffee powder and grape seed powder. (Reyes-Izquierdo, et al. 2013).

  1. Lower Blood Pressure

34% of the United States adults are suffering from high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a serious problem that puts extra strain on your heart and forcing it to pump blood throughout the body more hardly. As a result, the muscles of the heart become weak over time. (Benjamin et al., 2017)

Chlorogenic acid can be found in coffee fruit that helps to lower blood pressure levels and improve your heart health. Consuming chlorogenic acids extracted from the coffee fruit reduces both diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels. The plus point it has that it does not have any side effects (Watanabe et al.,2006).

  1. Enhance Immunity

Coffee fruit has a powerful impact on the immune system. It works to keep your body healthy and make it strong enough to fight against diseases and infections. According to research, consuming coffee fruit extract can increase the activity of immune cells. (Kobayashi et al. 1996).

  1. Have Anti-Cancer Activities

Coffee fruit can suppress the spread and growth of cancer cells. Coffee berries extract can reduce tumor growth by nearly 54% after just ten days. This study is limited to animals yet. But more studies are needed to confirm the results and how coffee fruit can affect cancer cells in humans. (Nagasawa et al. 1996).

How to Use Coffee Fruit

  • The coffee fruit extract is available in liquid form and supplements from the pharmacies and different health shops.
  • Because of its sweet taste, the coffee fruit is sometimes used in antioxidants syrups and drinks or added to supplements for a quick boost.
  • It is also a main part of cascara tea for making a soothing and delicious beverage.
  • You can also use coffee flour (gluten-free flour) made for the pulp of coffee fruit used in coffee production.
  • You can combine coffee flour with other flours to increase the flavor and aroma.
  • It can be used in baked items and desserts.

References

Moon, J. K., Yoo, H. S., & Shibamoto, T. (2009). Role of roasting conditions in the level of chlorogenic acid content in coffee beans: correlation with coffee acidity. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 57(12), 5365–5369. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf900012b

Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS4(2), 89–96.

Reyes-Izquierdo, T., Nemzer, B., Shu, C., Huynh, L., Argumedo, R., Keller, R., & Pietrzkowski, Z. (2013). Modulatory effect of coffee fruit extract on plasma levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy subjects. The British journal of nutrition110(3), 420–425. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114512005338

Benjamin, E. J., Blaha, M. J., Chiuve, S. E., Cushman, M., Das, S. R., Deo, R., . . . Muntner, P. (2017). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2017 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 135(10). doi:10.1161/cir.0000000000000485

Watanabe, T., Arai, Y., Mitsui, Y., Kusaura, T., Okawa, W., Kajihara, Y., & Saito, I. (2006). The blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertension. Clinical and experimental hypertension (New York, N.Y. : 1993)28(5), 439–449. https://doi.org/10.1080/10641960600798655

Kobayashi, T., Yasuda, M., Iijima, K., Toriizuka, K., Cyong, J. C., & Nagasawa, H. (1996). Effects of coffee cherry on the immune system in SHN mice. Anticancer research16(4A), 1827–1830.

Nagasawa, H., Yasuda, M., Sakamoto, S., & Inatomi, H. (1996). Suppression by coffee cherry of the growth of spontaneous mammary tumours in SHN mice. Anticancer research16(1), 151–153.

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