While most people are familiar with coffee beans, coffee fruit is not as common.
Derived from the same plant as the coffee bean, coffee fruit is traditionally discarded during the coffee-making process.
However, it has recently reemerged in the world of health and wellness, and it’s touted as a trendy new superfood that’s featured in supplements, juices, and herbal teas alike.
This article reviews the nutrition and health benefits of coffee fruit, along with common ways to add it to your diet.
Coffee fruit is a type of stone fruit that’s produced by the coffee plant.
It’s often referred to by other names, including coffee cherry or coffee berry.
The fruit is typically small and green, turning a deep red or purple shade as it ripens. The coffee bean is housed inside of the fruit and technically classified as a seed.
During coffee production, the coffee beans are extracted, while the fruit is typically discarded.
However, because of emerging research on its potential health effects, coffee fruit is now gaining traction as a popular supplement and beverage ingredient.
Coffee fruit is the fruit of the coffee plant. Although it was once discarded during coffee production, it’s now used in supplements and drinks.
Coffee fruit may be associated with several health benefits.
High in antioxidants
Coffee fruit is loaded with beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols.
Antioxidants help neutralize harmful compounds called free radicals, which can otherwise contribute to cell damage and chronic disease over time (
In particular, the fruit is high in antioxidant compounds like rutin and chlorogenic, protocatechuic, and gallic acids (
One small study in 20 athletes found that taking 800 mg of coffee fruit extract per day for 4 weeks improved antioxidant status (
Similarly, older test-tube and animal studies have shown that the extract could improve immune function and slow the growth of cancer cells, possibly due to its high antioxidant content (
Note that further studies are needed to examine how the antioxidants in coffee fruit may affect human health.
Also, keep in mind that the processing method can significantly affect the antioxidant content of a coffee fruit product. For example, one test-tube study showed that the antioxidant activity of extracts was up to 25 times higher than those of powders (
May benefit brain health
Promising research suggests that coffee fruit could help protect brain function and slow signs of aging.
For example, one study in 71 older adults with mild mental decline found that consuming coffee fruit extract for 28 days significantly reduced reaction time (
Another small study showed that taking 100 mg of coffee fruit concentrate increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) — a type of protein essential for the survival and growth of neuronal cells in the brain — by 143% within just 2 hours (
Furthermore, according to a review of 15 studies, people with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have lower levels of BDNF. Thus, coffee fruit concentrate could play a role in the management or treatment of this condition (
That said, additional studies are still needed to better understand coffee fruit’s potential benefits for brain health.
May promote fat loss
Although research on the topic is limited, some studies suggest that coffee fruit and its components may promote fat loss.
For example, in one test-tube study, coffee fruit extract promoted the breakdown of fat cells while suppressing the production of new fat cells (
Coffee fruit is also rich in chlorogenic acid, which has been studied for its ability to promote weight loss and boost fat burning.
In one 6-week study in mice fed a high fat diet, chlorogenic acid prevented weight and fat gain (
Similarly, in a 12-week study in 150 people with overweight, drinking coffee enriched with chlorogenic acid significantly decreased both body and belly fat, compared with a control group (
Nevertheless, keep in mind that current research is mostly limited to test-tube and animal studies that evaluated the effects of highly concentrated extracts. Ultimately, more research is needed to determine how consuming coffee fruit may affect weight and fat loss in humans.
Coffee fruit is high in antioxidants and may benefit brain health and fat loss. However, further studies in humans are needed.
While research on the long-term safety of coffee fruit is still limited, it’s generally considered safe if consumed in moderation.
In one animal study, coffee fruit was well tolerated and was not associated with any adverse effects when administered to rats, even at relatively high doses (
Just keep in mind that coffee fruit contains caffeine. Although the exact amount varies based on the specific product, dosage, and form, most products contain around 5–20 mg of caffeine per serving (
This is significantly less than regular coffee, which typically contains around 96 mg of caffeine per cup (240 mL). However, if you’re sensitive to caffeine or limiting your intake, this is still a factor to consider (
Coffee fruit is generally safe when used in moderation, but keep in mind that each serving contains a small amount of caffeine.
Coffee fruit is widely available at health stores and pharmacies. It can be found in several forms, including liquid extracts, tablets, and capsules.
The fruit is also often added to supplements purported to improve brain health and increase energy levels, typically alongside a blend of other fruit extracts.
Studies suggest that doses of 100–800 mg per day may be safe and well tolerated. However, there’s currently no official recommended dosage for these supplements (
It’s also worth mentioning that coffee fruit is sometimes found in drinks, such as juice blends, as well as used to make coffee cherry tea (also known as cascara), a type of herbal tea brewed from the dried skins of the coffee fruit.
Additionally, it’s added to some skin care products and applied topically to reduce inflammation and improve skin texture. However, more research is needed to evaluate how coffee fruit may affect skin health.
If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking coffee fruit.
Coffee fruit is widely available in supplement form. It’s also found in many drinks, including juices and herbal teas, and sometimes added to skin care products.
Coffee fruit is the fruit of the coffee plant.
Studies show that it’s rich in antioxidants and may benefit brain function and fat loss.
It’s available in several different forms and often taken as a supplement or added to herbal teas and juices.
Still, research on the safety and long-term health effects of consuming coffee fruit is limited, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking these supplements.
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