Iced coffee, the harbinger of warm weather, is a flavorful pick-me-up any day of the year. With home brews, specialty coffee shops, and canned coffees, you never have to go far to find your next cup.
But you may have wondered as you work on your cold buzz, can drinking iced coffee daily be good for you?
Drinking iced coffee every day is not bad for you. Coffee has many health benefits, whether your beverage of choice is an iced hot brew or a cold one. To keep your coffee habit positive, ensure that your caffeine intake and add-ins, like milk, syrups, and sugar, also meet your overall health goals.
Read on to learn about iced coffee’s health benefits and how to tweak your daily drink so that you can enjoy your brew without worrying about your health.
Iced Coffee and Cold Brew
Many of us probably call iced coffee and coffee over ice. Technically, there is a difference: iced coffee is coffee brewed by any hot brewing method and poured over ice. Cold-brew is made from coffee essence produced by extracting coffee grounds over a period of time in cold or room temperature water. The extract is then mixed with water and poured over ice.
Hot-brewed and cold-brewed coffee are chemically different, but in this article, we only differentiate between the two methods when there are differences in health benefits.
Health Benefits of Iced Coffee
Coffee has caffeine and antioxidants, which give your iced brew many of its health benefits. The caffeine comes from the coffee bean, and the antioxidants derive from chlorogenic acids in green coffee beans and those developed in the roasting process. Together, the caffeine and antioxidants in your iced brew help you perform better mentally and physically and can improve your health.
The impressive list of coffee’s benefits may be refined and expanded as scientists continue to study it, and our love of iced coffee shows no sign of slowing down.
Better Athletic Performance
The caffeine in coffee boosts athletic performance. Research shows that doses of 3 to 13 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight improve exercise performance, even in people who are caffeine tolerant (i.e., habitual coffee drinkers).
The best time to drink coffee is an hour before exercising. And if you’re worried about the diuretic effect of caffeine, fear not; the fluids in coffee will maintain your hydration levels.
Improved Memory and Focus
If you feel like that morning cup of coffee makes you more productive, you’re not wrong. Studies have found that coffee not only improves our mental sharpness and ability to concentrate but can boost our short and long-term memory.
Protects Against Cognitive Decline
While the exact reason is still being researched, scientists believe three to five cups of coffee a day, particularly in midlife, may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, either by helping prevent the build-up of plaques in your brain that leads to disease or by reducing the risk of Type-2 diabetes, a risk factor for dementia. Coffee also may help preserve cognitive function in older adults with Type 2 diabetes.
Helps Protect Your Liver, Heart, and Kidneys
One to four cups of coffee help lower the risk of liver cancer and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and reduce the mortality from chronic liver disease. Scientists found that drinking coffee reduces the blood level of liver enzymes that show liver damage and inflammation.
One to two cups of coffee a day also may prevent heart failure and stroke and reduce your risk of developing kidney disease.
Coffee has a potent blend of antioxidants that help your body combat inflammation and neutralize free radicals to reduce cell damage, leading to chronic conditions and diseases. The chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant found in few sources outside of coffee, also may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
According to a recent study, this is one place where hot and cold brewing and the coffee roast also makes a difference. Hot brewing extracts more antioxidants than cold brewing, generally, regardless of coffee roast. Cold brewing extracts fewer antioxidants overall, and the darker the roast, the more antioxidant activity decreases.
Delivers B Vitamins
We don’t often think of coffee’s nutritional value, but one cup of coffee contains 11% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B2 (riboflavin); 6% of the RDA of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and 2% of the RDA for vitamins B3 (niacin) and B1 (thiamine).
Lowers Risk of Diabetes, Parkinson’s Risk, and Cancer
Drinking four to six cups of coffee may help you reduce the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar and reducing inflammation. It also may reduce toxic protein deposits in people with Type-2 diabetes.
Research on caffeine’s impact on insulin sensitivity is mixed and still developing, so if you have diabetes, you may want to consider drinking decaffeinated coffee for an antioxidant boost until the insulin impact is sorted out.
Drinking coffee also helps lower your risk of colorectal cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and for those with Parkinson’s may improve movement control.
May Support Healthy Weight Goals
According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine may help you lose weight or prevent weight gain by increasing your resting metabolic rate or suppressing appetite. Research to better understand the link between caffeine and weight is ongoing.
How To Maximize the Benefits
To make sure your iced coffee habit stays in the healthy zone, make sure your total caffeine intake from all sources is right for you, and take care not to load your iced coffee with cream, sugar, or syrups at the expense of your overall health needs.
The amount of caffeine you can consume without negatively impacting your mood or health is individual. Excess caffeine may cause jitters, stomach upset, increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, exacerbate certain menopausal symptoms, and make it hard to fall asleep.
The generally recommended daily caffeine limit for adults, including women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding, is up to 400 mg. On average, 8 ounces of hot filtered coffee has 95 mg of caffeine; cold brew ranges from 104 -160 mg, and decaffeinated coffee has about 2 mg. Espresso has 63 mg of caffeine per one-ounce shot. Levels of caffeine in iced brews at specialty coffee shops vary based on their coffee blends and brew methods.
To enjoy your iced coffee with less caffeine, you can try a new brewing technique, use lower caffeine and decaffeinated coffee, and cut back on overall your daily intake.
Coffee’s benefits and relatively few calories can be whittled away by add-ins, such as sugar, cream and milk, and flavored syrups. Pre-bottled iced brews also can have added sugars and other ingredients.
Experts advise limiting caloric and sugary add-ins and considering using natural flavorings like vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and cocoa powder to boost flavor.
Make Iced Coffee at Home
You can make iced coffee at home with hot or cold brew methods. Most of these methods require little equipment, and if you already make coffee at home, you can start with what you have.
There are as many opinions on the best techniques for making iced and cold-brewed coffee, and you can check out ideas here and here to get started.
Drinking an iced coffee every day can be a healthy habit, as long as you match your coffee intake to your caffeine tolerance levels and make sure that your add-ins fit into your overall health needs and goals.
- CNN Health: The caffeine ‘detox’: How and why to cut back on your daily fix
- Epicurious: The Best Way to Make Iced Coffee (It Isn’t Cold Brew)
- Food and WIne: Hot and Cold Brew Coffee Are Chemically Different, Study Says
- Healthline:13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science
- Hub: Caffeine has positive effect on memory, Johns Hopkins researchers say
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: 9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You
- Kitchn:Coffee Basics: The Difference Between Arabica and Robusta
- Kitchn: We Tested 6 Methods for Making Iced Coffee at Home and Found the Very Best One
- Mayo Clinic: Does Caffeine Help with Weight Loss
- Medical News Today: Caffeine content of different types of coffee
- Medical News Today: How does coffee affect diabetes?
- National Library of Medicine: Age Modulates the Association of Caffeine Intake With Cognition and With Gray Matter in Elderly Diabetics
- World Journal of Hepatology: Coffee: The Magical Bean for Liver Disease
- Quick and Dirty Tips: is Caffeine Bad for You?
- Science Direct: Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children
- Scientific American: Can Avoiding Caffeine Boost Your Athletic Performance?
- Self: 10 Dietitian-Approved Iced Coffees and Cold Brews You Can Buy at the Supermarket
- Taste of Home: Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?
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