Blog Nutrition Can You Eat Coffee Beans? Yes, But With Caution

Can You Eat Coffee Beans? Yes, But With Caution

Coffee beans aren’t actually beans. They’re the pits of coffee berries. Calling them seeds is more accurate than beans. And yes, you can eat coffee seeds, but there are a few things to know first. Eating coffee beans is not new—in fact, people have been doing it for centuries. They would mix the whole beans with animal fat and eat them as a snack. This provided them with sustained energy throughout the day. Nowadays, seeing coffee lovers munching on a handful of beans is not as common, but it’s still something people do. Some might do it for the caffeine kick or because they like the taste. Others might think eating coffee beans has health benefits. While there are some potential benefits to eating coffee beans, there are also some risks to be aware of. This article will take a closer look at both.

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Potential Benefits Of Eating Coffee Beans

All the possible health benefits of ground coffee are amplified when you eat the whole bean. The rapid absorption through the lining of your mouth means you’ll get a quick hit of caffeine and other components. The beans are:

A Good Source Of Antioxidants

Coffee beans are a good source of antioxidants. These are nutrients that protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can build up in your body and contribute to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer (7).

May Boost Brain Function

Eating coffee beans may help boost your brain function. This is due to the high levels of caffeine they contain. Caffeine is a psychoactive substance that has been shown to temporarily improve mood, alertness and memory (12).

May Help You Burn Fat

Coffee beans may cause you to burn fat. This is because they contain a substance called chlorogenic acid. This substance is thought to boost metabolism and increase fat burning. One study found that consuming coffee high in chlorogenic acid may have helped participants lose abdominal fat (5).

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May Lower Your Risk Of Diabetes

Eating coffee beans may also help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. This might be due to the high levels of chlorogenic acid they contain, which is thought to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. One meta analysis found that coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (6).

can you eat coffee beans?

May Protect Your Liver

Eating coffee beans may aid in protecting your liver. This might be due to the high levels of antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants help to neutralize harmful toxins that can damage your liver cells (6).

May Reduce Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Eating coffee beans may also help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This could be due to the high levels of antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants can help to protect your brain cells from damage (4).

May Reduce Your Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease

Eating coffee beans may also help reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease. This could be due to the high levels of antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants help to protect your brain cells from damage (6).

May Reduce Your Risk Of Stroke

Eating coffee beans may cause a reduction in your risk of stroke. This could also be due to the high levels of antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants help to protect your brain cells from damage (6).

May Improve Your Physical Performance

Eating coffee beans may support improved physical performance. This is due to the high levels of caffeine they contain. Caffeine has been shown to help increase endurance and reduce fatigue (3).

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Read More: Bulletproof Coffee Fasting: Should You Say No To Keto Coffee When You’re On A Fast

Risks Of Eating Coffee Beans

While there are some potential benefits to eating coffee beans, there are also some risks to be aware of. The main risks include:

High In Caffeine

Coffee beans are high in caffeine. Caffeine is a psychoactive substance that can have side effects, including anxiety, headaches and insomnia (2). If you are sensitive to caffeine, it’s best to avoid eating coffee beans.

May Cause Digestive Issues

Eating coffee beans may also cause digestive issues. This is due to the fact that they are hard to digest. Coffee beans can cause symptoms like bloating, gas and stomach pain. They can also have a laxative effect. You may experience diarrhea if you eat too many coffee beans (13).

Heartburn

Coffee beans contain catechols, which can cause heartburn. Catechols are compounds that increase acid production in the stomach. If you have a sensitive stomach, it’s best to avoid eating coffee beans (9).

Sleep Disturbance

Eating coffee beans may also create sleep disturbance. This is due to the high levels of caffeine they contain. Studies indicate that those who are sensitive to caffeine may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep (1). Whether you are particularly sensitive or not, it may be best to avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening.

can you eat coffee beans?

Pregnancy

Eating coffee beans is not recommended during pregnancy. This is due to the fact that they are high in caffeine. Caffeine can cross the placenta and may increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and stillbirth. If you are pregnant, it’s best to avoid eating coffee beans and discuss caffeine intake with your doctor (8).

Increased Anxiety Symptoms

Eating too many coffee beans can lead to increased anxiety symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness and irritability. You may also experience physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate and tremors. If you suffer from anxiety, it would be a good idea to avoid coffee beans (2).

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How Many Coffee Beans Can You Eat?

The amount of coffee beans you can eat will depend on your tolerance for caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine, it’s best to start with a small amount and increase gradually as needed.

It’s also important to drink plenty of water when eating coffee beans. This will help to prevent dehydration and digestive issues (13).

The amount of caffeine in beans varies depending on the type of bean. For example, Arabica beans contain less caffeine than Robusta beans.

Chocolate covered coffee beans also tend to be lower in caffeine than regular coffee beans. However, they are also relatively high in calories and sugar.

If you’re consuming caffeine through other sources, such as coffee or tea, it’s important to factor this into your choices. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to side effects such as anxiety, headaches and insomnia (2).

So balance is key. You don’t want to consume too many coffee beans, but you want to get the benefits. The best way to find your sweet spot is to start with a small amount and increase gradually as needed.

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Which Coffee Beans Are Edible?

There are many different types of coffee beans, but not all of them are edible. The most common type of edible coffee bean is the Arabica bean. Other types of edible beans include:

  • Robusta
  • Liberica
  • Excelsa
  • Chinook
  • Bourbon
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These beans are typically roasted and ground before being used to make coffee. However, they can also be eaten raw.

When selecting coffee beans to eat, avoid green beans. These beans are unripe and may cause stomach upset.

It may also be a good idea to avoid beans that have been treated with chemicals such as pesticides.

To be safe, it’s best to buy organic coffee beans. These beans are less likely to be treated with pesticides and are more likely to be ripe.

When selecting coffee beans to eat, look for beans that are:

  • Dark brown or black in color
  • Uniform in size
  • Free of blemishes or defects
  • Plump and firm to the touch
  • Free of any foreign objects

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How To Eat Coffee Beans

There are many different ways to eat coffee beans. The most popular way is to simply pop them in your mouth and chew.

Another option is to grind the beans into a powder and sprinkle it on other foods. This can be done with a coffee grinder or by using a mortar and pestle.

You can also add coffee beans to baked goods or smoothies. Just be sure to grind the beans first to prevent them from damaging your teeth.

Some coffee bean recipes include:

can you eat coffee beans?

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans (11)

As the name suggests, these beans are simply coffee beans that are coated in chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole roasted coffee beans (medium or dark roast)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth.
  3. Add the coffee beans to the chocolate and stir until evenly coated.
  4. Place the beans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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This recipe is courtesy of roastycoffee.com

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can you eat coffee beans?

Dirty Chai Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans (11)

Dirty chai refers to a type of coffee made with espresso and spices. This recipe takes that concept and combines it with chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole roasted coffee beans (medium or dark roast)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • Sprinkle of ground cloves

Instructions:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth.
  3. Add the spices and stir until evenly mixed.
  4. Add the coffee beans to the chocolate and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Place the beans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

This recipe is courtesy of roastycoffee.com

The Bottom Line

Coffee beans are safe to eat, but they should be consumed in moderation. This is due to the fact that they are high in caffeine. Caffeine can have side effects, including anxiety, headaches and insomnia. They aren’t recommended for everyone, so talk to your doctor first.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. A Genetic Variation in the Adenosine A2A Receptor Gene (ADORA2A) Contributes to Individual Sensitivity to Caffeine Effects on Sleep (2007, wiley.com) 
  2. Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disorders (2010, nih.gov) 
  3. Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance (2001, pubmed.gov) 
  4. Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (2010, nih.gov) 
  5. Coffee Abundant in Chlorogenic Acids Reduces Abdominal Fat in Overweight Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial (2019, nih.gov) 
  6. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes (2017, nih.gov) 
  7. Complex mixture analysis of organic compounds in green coffee bean extract by two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy (2010, wiley.com) 
  8. Maternal Caffeine Consumption during Pregnancy and Risk of Low Birth Weight: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies (2015, pubmed.gov) 
  9. Multi-parametric approach to identify coffee components that regulate mechanisms of gastric acid secretion (2012, wiley.com) 
  10. Simultaneous determination of mycotoxin in commercial coffee (2015, sciencedirect.com) 
  11. THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO EATING COFFEE BEANS (2021, roastycoffee.com) 
  12. The Neurophysiology of Caffeine as a Central Nervous System Stimulant and the Resultant Effects on Cognitive Function (2021, nih.gov) 
  13. The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials (2011, nih.gov)
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