Health Benefits of Dark Roast Coffee

There’s nothing quite like a cup of dark roast coffee to help you wake up. The caffeine boost and bold flavor make it many people’s first choice for a morning pick-me-up.

Dark roast coffee beans have been roasted longer than other types, resulting in a darker bean and a more full-bodied cup of joe. A longer roast moderates bright flavors and reduces caffeine levels, so dark roast coffee is less sour and more bitter than a light roast.

Coffee isn’t just about flavor and energy, though. It also has a variety of health benefits that make it a great addition to many diets.

Health Benefits

The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in dark roast coffee can provide important health benefits. For example, the vitamin riboflavin is an important component for your cell’s healthy growth and development. It helps maintain your blood and assists your body process amino acids into usable forms. 

Dark roast coffee is also an excellent source of pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, which helps your body convert food into useful energy for your day.

In addition, dark roast coffee can provide other health benefits like:

Lower Risk of Cancer

Dark roast coffee is one of the best sources of antioxidants in most Americans’ diets. The dark, rich brown color of coffee is the result of these antioxidants, which can help fight free radicals that cause cellular damage and have been linked to cancer. As a result, people who consume coffee regularly are at a lower risk of multiple types of cancer, including colorectal cancer.

Brain Health

Dark roast coffee is an excellent source of caffeine, which offers some impressive brain benefits. Caffeine has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment. Regularly consuming caffeine may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in particular. Coffee has also been connected to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by the death of certain brain neurons.

Improved Liver Health

Critical for your health, your liver helps filter your blood, store energy, and produce important liquids for your digestive system. Coffee can actually help keep your liver in good shape. Drinking dark roast coffee every day can help reduce your risk of liver cirrhosis, or the scarring of the liver. Regularly drinking coffee can also reduce your risk of liver cancer by up to 40 percent.

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Nutrition

Dark roast coffee contains niacin, or vitamin B3, which helps your body manage cholesterol and supports the health of your skin, nerves, and digestive system. Like pantothenic acid, niacin is an important part of a well-rounded diet and often included in multivitamins to help prevent conditions like pellagra.

Dark roast coffee is also an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

An 8-ounce (one cup) serving of black, dark roast coffee contains:

  • Calories: 2
  • Protein: Less than 1 gram
  • Fat: Less than 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: Less than 1 gram
  • Fiber: Less than 1 gram
  • Sugar: Less than 1 gram

Portion Size

Dark roast coffee and the caffeine it provides are a great source of mental energy, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Overindulging in coffee can lead to jittery feelings from consuming too much caffeine. These feelings pass, and it is unlikely that a person could drink enough coffee to cause health problems.

Drinking too much coffee can also lead to gastrointestinal distress. In particular, coffee can cause heartburn for some people. If drinking coffee makes your stomach uncomfortable, drinking less of it can help reduce your discomfort.

How to Drink Dark Roast Coffee

Dark roast coffee is often drunk, but it can be consumed in many ways. From espresso to French presses, there are plenty of ways to make it. The best way to make coffee is the way that tastes best to you – don’t be afraid to experiment. The health benefits remain the same, no matter how you prepare it.

Here are some ways you can include dark roast coffee in your diet:

  • Drink dark roast coffee to wake up
  • Use dark roast coffee to make a tiramisu
  • Add coffee to marinades
  • Pour coffee over vanilla ice cream for an Italian dessert
  • Try making coffee butter spread
  • Freeze coffee into cubes to make iced coffee without watering it down
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 19, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea intakes and risk of colorectal cancer in a large prospective study.”

American Psychological Association: “Too much coffee?”

Archives of Internal Medicine: “Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

FoodData Central: “Coffee, brewed.”

Gastroenterology: “Coffee Consumption and Risk of Liver Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.”

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: “Caffeine intake and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis.”

Journal of the American Medical Association: “Association of coffee and caffeine intake with the risk of Parkinson disease.”

Mayo Clinic: “Niacin.”

National Institutes of Health: “Pantothenic Acid.”

National Institutes of Health: “Riboflavin.”

Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology: “Coffee and gastrointestinal function: facts and fiction. A review.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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