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Are Espresso Beans Edible? (Benefits and Potential Risks to Consider)

Are Espresso Beans Edible? (Benefits and Potential Risks to Consider)
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Espresso beans are used for a wide array of drink combinations. They pack a natural punch of caffeine, making them the ingredient of choice in most of your favorite coffee beverages currently on the market.

But have you ever stopped to think about whether the beans are edible and what they may taste like without being distorted or changed?

Can You Eat Espresso Beans?

Espresso beans, much like coffee beans, come from the coffee fruit or the coffee cherry as it is known. These seeds, which are bean-like, are then usually dried out, roasted, and brewed to make the coffee that so many of us know and love.

Since there are so many potential health benefits to drinking coffee, it only makes sense that eating the beans would be the next step in the process. The quick, easy answer is that you can definitely eat espresso beans (and they are quite popular when dipped in chocolate).

Espresso beans are totally edible and have been eaten in a variety of forms for hundreds of years and maybe longer. Coffee beans even provide the same basic nutrients that you can get out of a cup of coffee, the only difference is that you get them in a much more concentrated way.

Typically, coffee is filtered and then diluted using water. As a result, you get just a portion of the caffeine and any of the other substances that you can find in coffee beans. Eating the beans directly also means getting faster absorption of the caffeine through your mouth’s lining.

So, while it is definitely okay to consume espresso beans, there are some things that you need to be aware of. There are positive health benefits, but some downsides as well.

Benefits of Eating Espresso Beans

Coffee in general tends to have a number of benefits but we typically know what those can be when the beans have been diluted into a liquid. What are the health benefits of espresso beans when you consume them naturally or covered in chocolate?

For one, espresso beans are a great source of antioxidants. They are most commonly known for having a family of polyphenols that promote stronger health such as chlorogenic acid.

The amount can vary depending on the type of espresso bean that you get as well as the roasting methods that these types have.

There have been studies that show that chlorogenic acid could potentially reduce the risk of diabetes and can even help with inflammation. Some trial studies have even shown that espresso beans may have cancer-fighting qualities, too.

When it comes to chlorogenic acid, the roasting process can actually reduce the amount of acid by as much as 95%. Eating espresso beans in their natural form allows you to reap the full benefits of the chlorogenic acid.

Perhaps the biggest reason to eat espresso beans is the caffeine. After all, the reason that people drink coffee is generally due to the caffeine boost that it provides. Caffeine provides natural stimulation, enhances focus and concentration, and can even provide boosts of energy.

Generally speaking, a handful of espresso beans produces the amount of caffeine that we get in a single coffee beverage. The great thing about eating espresso beans is that your body has the capability of absorbing the caffeine much quicker than you would through drinking it in its diluted form.

The caffeine found in espresso beans can have a major impact on your central nervous system and your brain as well. It can boost your alertness, mood, performance, and memory. As a matter of fact, one espresso bean can be as effective as a 30-minute nap.

If the boost in energy and focus weren’t enough, there are far more benefits to eating espresso beans than you may have realized. For one, it reduces the risk of death in those with prior conditions such as diabetes.

Eating espresso beans can also help to reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and even potentially fight a variety of cancers. Espresso beans are good for liver illnesses such as liver fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Perhaps its biggest non-caffeine contribution is its impact on prevention of brain disorders. That can include Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease, among others.

It is important to note that these are all based on some observational studies and not controlled trials.

Potential Risks of Eating Espresso Beans

While there are tons of benefits to be had from consuming espresso beans, there are also plenty of things that can be detrimental about eating espresso beans.

The key is to eat in moderation, just as you would with anything else. It is the consumption of too many beans that can lead to the issues outlined below.

Perhaps the most common impact of coffee is an upset stomach and heartburn. There are some compounds in espresso beans that can potentially upset the stomach of some of the people who consume them.

This is due to a compound that is found in espresso beans known as catechols. These catechols found in the espresso bean have been shown to potentially increase the amount of stomach acid that is produced in the body.

When your body produces excessive stomach acid, it can lead to what is known as heartburn. This is where stomach acid can get pushed back up into the esophagus. Eating too many espresso beans can also lead to nausea, bloating, and upset stomach if consumed too frequently or in too large a quantity.

We typically know that coffee can have a laxative effect as well and that is much the same with espresso beans.

It’s rare but people with intestinal diseases should probably avoid eating espresso beans. It has nothing to do with the caffeine, but the components within the bean.

The caffeine within the espresso beans can also lead to a potential issue with sleep. When caffeine is overconsumed, it can even lead to sleep issues, especially in people who have caffeine sensitivity.

These people face a much greater risk of falling and staying asleep. When that happens, it can lead to daytime exhaustion and an inability to focus on specific tasks.

One of the biggest issues that people have with consuming caffeine is that they do so too late in the day. The impacts of caffeine can be felt for nearly 10 hours after it has been consumed.

So, consuming it late in the afternoon can potentially lead to issues falling asleep at night.

Impact of Overconsumption

Since espresso beans are a highly concentrated vehicle for caffeine, there are a few serious drawbacks of overconsuming them. The first is in those who have prior anxiety issues.

Feeling anxious is already natural for some and an overconsumption of caffeine through the espresso beans can lead to nausea, increased feelings of stress, and even heart palpitations.

Not only that, overconsumption can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop consuming them. Anxiety, headaches, tremors, tiredness, and more are all possible if you decide to go cold turkey.

Espresso beans are quite safe to eat but they need to be consumed in moderation as their impacts are far more concentrated than a standard cup of coffee.