Does your morning cup of joe provide you with health benefits? How nutritious is coffee? Does coffee contain antioxidants used in fighting cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease? The health benefits of coffee have been raging for centuries. One study shows it’s bad for you, another shows that it’s not. Where does the debate on coffee stand?
A headline history of coffee spanning over 500 years reveals both the good and bad press associated with the world’s favorite stimulating beverage. Unfavorable headlines such as “Coffee Leads to Illegal Sex” , “Cures Alcoholism but Causes Impotence” and “As Serious as a Heart Attack” have given coffee a bad rap over the years.
It began shifting from bad to good in the early 2000s, when meta-analysis and science-backed research began shifting to a more favorable view regarding coffee consumption. Applying scientific principles to specific studies resulted in many of those headlines mentioned above becoming invalid.Let’s take a look at why numerous health experts are promoting coffee consumption as one way of securing a variety of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in your body.
What is an Antioxidant?
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Think of antioxidants as cleaning agents ridding your body of bacteria. These bacteria are known as free radicals and they can have a negative effect on your health. We encounter them on a daily basis such as when:
- Your body burns sugar for energy.
- Digestive enzymes are released helping you break down food.
- Your body breaks down medicines.
- You come up against pollutants.
The best source of antioxidants are found in plants. Numerous fruits and vegetables possess antioxidant agents as do red wine, dark chocolate and tea. They play a critical role in managing and preventing certain medical conditions. Cancers, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease as well as arthritis-related conditions are all linked to free radicals in your body.
Does Coffee Contain Antioxidants?
The answer is yes. Coffee does contain antioxidants. However, how you process coffee affects the level of antioxidants found in it. Roasted coffee does have higher levels of antioxidants than non-roasted coffee. Let’s take a look at the antioxidants found in coffee that you may have never heard of before and how they help in combating a variety of medical conditions.
Types of Antioxidants Found in Coffee
Caffeine is an antioxidant. Did you know that? It’s composition is similar to uric acid - a recognized antioxidant and aids in weight loss, headaches, improved athletic performance and preventing diabetes.
Quinine is a bitter agent found in the bark of the Cinchona Tree - a tropical evergreen plant that is known for its medicinal properties in fighting malaria. It is also found in coffee and increases in potency the longer you roast the beans. It can be harmful in large doses but because only trace amounts are found in coffee it has been ruled safe.
Melanoidins are behind the coffee’s aroma when roasting. More importantly, it contains nitrogenous compounds that are formed while roasting and possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chlorogenic Acid(CGA) plays a role with antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory occurences in the body. CGAs have been found to increase the rate at which your body burns fat as well as increase your metabolism rate.
Hydroxycinnamic acid possess a high level of antioxidant properties and has been cited as a potent oxidising ingredient dealing with counteracting free radicals.
Cafestol aids with intestinal and brain health. It acts as a bile modulator in your gut and possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties that aid in memory retention.
The amount of antioxidants found in red wine, dark chocolate and green and black tea as well as white rice or brown rice still do not compare to the amount found in coffee. It’s right up there with blueberries.
It aids in reducing your risk of liver, colon and rectal cancer. It expels your body of toxins and other free radicals which lead to protein and DNA damage as well as lowering your risk of type-2 diabetes, gallstones and cirrhosis of the liver.
It combats against premature aging due to sun exposure and helps in reducing numerous mental disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Coffee is linked to reducing stress and depression as well.
At the End of the Day
There are many great health benefits associated with coffee. Like anything in life, it is best enjoyed in moderation. It is important to remember that coffee contains caffeine, which is a drug that can become addictive if used in excess. Drinking over eight cups a day can cause bad cholesterol(LDL), heart palpitations, weight gain, restlessness, jitters and insomnia.
Pregnant women should avoid drinking too many cups as it can produce a miscarriage. It is also important to remember that adding creams, sugars and flavored syrups decreases the health benefits associated with drinking coffee.
Leaving your coffee black or drinking it Bulletproof style is best. Coffee does contain antioxidants like caffeine, quinine and other CGAs that provide your body with tremendous health benefits. Watch out for consuming too much which cancels the good things out.