Thursday, September 2, 2010

Coffee's Health Benefits: Antioxidant Series

Coffee, is a great love of mine. Its warm, tasty, wakes you up, and is great to dip things in.

Other than all of those benefits, didja know coffee also contains molecules that are antioxidants?? (See my last post for my attempt at explaining antioxidants.)

Coffee contains these wonderful compounds called polyphenols. And in fact- coffee consumption actually provides more than 60% of antioxidants consumed in America.

Epidemiological studies have shown that coffee consumption correlated with less ‘oxidative stress’, aka, less cells with their identity stolen, and less inflammation.

Sometimes coffee gets a bad wrap, in regards to it staining teeth, or its caffeine being bad if you have high blood pressure, but overall it’s hard to really analyze coffee. Many studies looking at specifically at coffee consumption in humans is difficult to translate, because often coffee drinkers also have other negative lifestyle factors such as smoking, or not consuming many fruits and vegetables.

Looking at coffee in animal studies, in vitro (just looking at the cellular interactions), and some human studies have shown positive results for coffee as an antioxidant. Coffee has been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and type II diabetes. It does this through preventing oxidative reactions, or stopping free radical reactions.

Currently there is no absolute proof that coffee is beneficial, however, it is known that the antioxidant polyphenol compound does exist in the beverage. More well controlled human studies are needed.

But in my opinion, if you enjoy your daily cup of java, go ahead and enjoy :) your body just might thank you later.

Photo by Jessica Leibowitz @

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