When it comes to coffee, people are generally divided into two groups: lovers and haters. Really, there’s no in-between. Either you love it, no matter what others say against it, or you hate it, no matter what others say in defense of it. That said, did you know that many people are unfriendly towards coffee because they have not heard of its true benefits? Maybe they can be convinced if presented with evidence that coffee contains beneficial ingredients that can promote good health.
It’s a good thing that people nowadays are very health conscious. When new information sheds new light on the foods and drinks that they ignored before, more and more people change their perception and attitude towards it. Coffee is one of those drinks that came to the spotlight after several studies and researchers looked into its ingredients and its effects on our health.
Did you know that coffee is the leading source of antioxidants and an effective mood enhancer?
I bet you did not expect to know this because you are always bombarded with information like coffee is acidic; coffee will make you palpitate; coffee makes you an insomniac. Granted, those are real concerns, but the truth is, coffee is rich in antioxidants that are beneficial in preventing cancer risks, diabetes, aging and Parkinson’s disease.
What are antioxidants in the first place?
According to WebMD, antioxidants are natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables that help protect the body from harmful elements called free radicals. Antioxidants may include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. You can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, coffee, and teas. While you can buy antioxidant supplements, the best way to obtain antioxidants is from eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Our body is exposed to free radicals under the following conditions:
- Through by-products of normal processes that take place in your body (such as the burning of sugars for energy and the release of digestive enzymes to break down food).
- When the body breaks down certain medicines.
- Through pollutants.
As a result, we need our daily dose of antioxidants to combat these conditions that can expose to free radicals. Did you know that free radicals are one of the leading causes of cancers? Since we are exposed to pollutants on a daily basis, cancer has become a threatening disease, even to people who do not have a history of cancer in the family.
Antioxidants in coffee: the evidence
Fox News Health compiled several studies that underscored the beneficial antioxidants present in every cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Coffee is super-concentrated with antioxidants and is especially high in one group of antioxidant compounds called flavonoids. The flavonoids have garnered considerable scientific interest because of their beneficial effects on human health. In various journal studies, they have been reported to possess antioxidant, antiviral, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor activities.
The report also noted that Americans who consume two to three cups of freshly brewed black coffee get more antioxidants.
In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Harvard researchers found that drinking caffeinated coffee lowered rates of depression among women. Women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression over the 10-year study period, compared with women who consumed one cup or less per day. Women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing depression.
In a report from Harvard Health, researchers explained that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee is one of the leading antioxidants that help promote good health. Chlorogenic acid can lower rates of heart disease and diabetes. In an experiment, they found that this antioxidant has the ability to absorb glucose in the digestive system and even-out insulin levels.
In 2005, a study indicated that coffee contained more antioxidant properties than previously thought. Unfortunately, at the time, those antioxidant properties found only showed up after at a particular point in the coffee-roasting process. That means that at a precise point in roasting, the antioxidant’s benefits in coffee could be captured, or squashed.
Therefore, the roasting, grinding, and brewing processes have an impact on the level of antioxidants found in coffee. Also, it can be noted that freshly brewed coffee has more antioxidants than instant coffee.
6 Antioxidants Found in Coffee
According to a report published on Phys.org, researchers found that a high concentration of antioxidants is present in a cup of coffee. As a result, most Americans get a higher dose of antioxidants because they love to drink coffee. The latest statistics by The Specialty Coffee Association of America and National Coffee Association more than half of American population are avid coffee drinkers.
What are the beneficial antioxidants found in coffee? Check out this list:
Cafestol acts like a bile acid modulator in the intestine. It can regulate the sugar level in our gut before it can be absorbed by the blood. Also, it is a known anti-inflammatory substance that can help improve memory.
Trigonelline is a known anti-bacterial agent that can prevent dental cavities. This antioxidant also gives coffee its bitter taste and heavenly aroma. If you want to get the most of this antioxidant, choose Arabica coffee. When coffee beans are darkly roasted, the trigonelline degrades to form nicotinic acid and pyridines. Nicotinic acid is also known as Vitamin B3 (or niacin), which is a well-known antioxidant.
Chlorogenic acid is an important antioxidant because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help regulate fat in the body and speed up metabolism rate.
Melanoidin is the brown colored, nitrogenous compounds in coffee. This antioxidant carries anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, too.
The bitter compound is one of the primary agents in coffee that give the latter some of its antioxidant properties. It is a known element for Malaria treatment.
Also confirmed by the American Chemistry Society, caffeine is an antioxidant that can help cure headaches, aid in losing weight and help prevent diabetes.
You see, coffee has not just one but six antioxidants. These antioxidants can help promote better health if you choose the right type of coffee and ensure that you do not overdrink. Health experts recommend two to three cups a day as the maximum limit for coffee intake.
Drink in moderation and enjoy the health benefits of coffee’s antioxidants.