• Dr. Gladis Walter


According to data from 2019, the country with the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world is Finland, with an average of 12 kg (26.5 lbs) per year while Americans rate 25th, consuming an average of 4.2 kg (9.25 lbs) per person-year. Between green tea and coffee, most people worldwide will choose to drink the black beverage for breakfast. The question is: is it healthy? When the body is unable to neutralize the excessive production of free radicals, caused by pollution, an unbalanced diet, etc., they can affect cells and tissues, interact with protein molecules, carbohydrates, lipids, cause DNA mutations, blood and vessel walls damage. Despite being known by humankind since the 16th century, coffee has been associated with the development of life-threatening diseases, as result of a prolonged periods of oxidative stress. Among these, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. But, is it coffee is an oxidative stressor? Contrary to what has been circulating, science is showing that coffee has the opposite effect: it is a potent antioxidant that in daily doses may combat free radicals in cells and avoid the cascade that leads to oxidative stress. In other words, it has a protective effect. A study published this year, 2020, compare the antioxidative capacity of coffee with other drinks. In the result, coffee extract emerged as a potent antioxidant, even surpassing the benefits of red wine. According to this study, this is the rank of the best antioxidant drinks: 1. Coffee (Espresso) 2. Coffee (Instant) 3. Coffee (Extract) 4. Coffee (Espresso, Decaffeinated) 5. Red wine (Chianti) 6. Green Tea 7. Black Tea 8. Rose wine (Villa Tofre) 9. White wine (Pinot)

So, is coffee good for your health? In a certain way, yes. But you should know that not every coffee is the same. The two most common species of coffee are Coffea Arabica (75% of the world’s coffee production) and Coffea Canephora (also known as Coffea Robusta) and they contain more than 1000 different compounds in their composition. Although Coffea Arabica has a better quality, if your health is a priority, you should search for the roasting intensity of your coffee. The antioxidant capacity of coffee extract has been associated with phenolic compounds. The higher the neuronal cell protective effect, the larger was the presence of the 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid on the sample, the study shows. Chemical compounds change during the roasting process, in special the phenolic compounds and the medium roasted coffee was the one showing a higher concentration of 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid with better physiological results. But if you still have some concerns about coffee, keep drinking green tea, it is still a good option! And we may rethink the recommendation of a daily glass of red wine if we want to live longer.

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References: 1. Acidri, R., Sawai, Y., Sugimoto, Y., Handa, T., Sasagawa, D., Masunaga, T., Yamamoto, S., & Nishihara, E. (2020). Phytochemical Profile and Antioxidant Capacity of Coffee Plant Organs Compared to Green and Roasted Coffee Beans. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 93. 2. Jeong, J. H., Jeong, H. R., Jo, Y. N., Kim, H. J., Lee, U., & Heo, H. J. (2013). Antioxidant and neuronal cell protective effects of columbia arabica coffee with different roasting conditions. Preventive nutrition and food science, 18(1), 30–37. 3. Priftis, A., Stagos, D., Konstantinopoulos, K., Tsitsimpikou, C., Spandidos, D. A., Tsatsakis, A. M., Tzatzarakis, M. N., & Kouretas, D. (2015). Comparison of antioxidant activity between green and roasted coffee beans using molecular methods. Molecular medicine reports, 12(5), 7293–7302. 4. Yashin, A., Yashin, Y., Wang, J. Y., & Nemzer, B. (2013). Antioxidant and Antiradical Activity of Coffee. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 2(4), 230–245.

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