pOV: It’s five in the afternoon, you’re craving coffee, but you’ve got that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you that enjoying a cup this late in the day will definitely keep you up all night spinning -se, counting sheep without any result.

Yes, we all love the taste of coffee, but sometimes it can really put us on edge with that jittery, jittery feeling that can quickly become unpleasant…especially at the end of the day. So what can we drink to curb our coffee cravings without the repercussions of too much caffeine? Enter decaffeinated coffee—the decaffeinated sibling of our regular morning brew that tastes and looks almost exactly the same.

Aside from the obvious, we know that decaffeinated coffee won’t give you the same buzz as a regular cup of java. But how exactly does this decaffeinated version compare to our favorite good coffee, aka a gastroenterologist’s favorite beverage to drink for digestion and regularity? We spoke to a registered dietitian who explained the differences (and similarities) between decaffeinated coffee and regular coffee to see if it’s really worth it.

What are the benefits of consuming decaffeinated coffee, according to a registered dietitian?

According to Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder and director of Real Nutrition, decaf and regular coffee aren’t that different. On the contrary, they contain almost all the same nutritional values ​​and health benefits, including essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. “Decaffeinated coffee still contains the same antioxidants as regular coffee, except they may be about 15 percent less, which are lost in the process of removing the caffeine,” says Shapiro.

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Plus, caffeinated or not, coffee is great for gut health, according to health professionals. “Both regular and decaffeinated coffee increase activity in the colon, resulting in more pressure waves,” Will Bulsiewicz, MD, board-certified gastroenterologist and author of Fiber Fueled, previously shared with Well+Good why it’s excellent for promoting digestion. . Shapiro also notes that some studies point to a correlation between decaffeinated coffee consumption and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

Shapiro says decaffeinated coffee may also have brain-boosting benefits. “Decaffeinated coffee has been shown to protect brain neurons, possibly reducing the onset of cognitive problems such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s; this is possibly due to chlorogenic acid, not the caffeine found in coffee as originally speculated,” he says.

Shapiro also shares that decaffeinated coffee can decrease heartburn and the frequency and intensity of acid reflux. “Decaffeinated coffee is not as irritating to the gut and colon, so you may not have the urge to use the bathroom after drinking it, as regular coffee does for some,” she says.

While decaf and regular coffee share many of the same characteristics and benefits, there’s one obvious difference: the caffeine content (or lack thereof), which Shapiro says can have some drawbacks. “Without caffeine, decaffeinated coffee does not help with benefits such as improved mood, increased metabolism and improved athletic performance,” he explains.

In short, like most things in life, it’s all about balance and moderation and listening to your own body, so if you feel like you’ve had enough caffeine to power a small airplane engine (or you’re sensitive for the effects of caffeine), it might be time to order a decaffeinated version of our favorite beer.

3 decaffeinated coffees that taste just as good (or better) than the real thing

1. Beans and Beans of single origin Mexico Descaf

By now, you may know that we love Bean & Bean coffees, and this decaffeinated version lives up to our coffee-loving expectations. It’s organic, fair trade, and has all the coffee flavor we know and love, minus the caffeine. The beans come from the Chiapas region of Mexico and undergo a mountain water process, which involves pre-soaking the coffee in water to expand the beans for caffeine extraction, then introducing a concentrated solution with coffee solubles that extract the caffeine without affecting the coffee. particular flavor The result is a delicious blend of flavor notes, including orange, milk chocolate and brown sugar. YUM.

2. Velty decaffeinated instant coffee

Velty is a women-owned brand of decaffeinated coffee with benefits such as prebiotics and antioxidants. The product comes in individually wrapped sachets for ease and convenience, which can be used to make iced or hot instant coffee in seconds. And to further increase its gut-friendly benefits, Velty coffee is made with additional ingredients such as fiber-rich inulin derived from Jerusalem artichokes, as well as reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms for cognitive health Best of all, the coffee has smooth, sweet notes of chocolate, and who doesn’t love chocolate and coffee together?

3. Kicking Horse decaffeinated coffee

With over 1,600 reviews on Amazon and four and a half stars, it’s safe to say Kicking Horse Coffee’s decaf is a crowd favorite. The coffee blend comes from Central and South America and has a deep, nutty chocolate aroma and toasted hazelnut taste notes. It’s versatile and can be brewed any way you like, including methods like French press, drip, pour over or espresso. And to make sure it’s as decaffeinated as possible, it undergoes the Swiss Water Process (SWP), a proprietary decaffeination method that uses only water to remove 99.9 percent of a coffee’s caffeine content .

A RD shares all the reasons why we should love coffee: