The Magical Ingredient That Makes Coffee a Healthy Choice

Posted by Steph on Friday in Caffeinated, Coffee Facts, Coffee Roasting, Health | Short Link

Recently there has been a major shift in medical opinion regarding the consumption of coffee. In fact, it might be said that in the old adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ the word ‘apple’ has been replaced by ‘a cup of coffee’.

Before anyone rushes out to brew up a gallon or two, it’s still wise to remember that drinking multiple cups of black, highly-caffeinated coffee on a daily basis isn’t a healthy option. The instant buzz of an espresso shot comes at a price – palpitations and raised blood pressure being just two of the things the addicted coffee drinker will experience after a caffeine overdose. Everyone is very aware of the caffeine content of coffee, but it’s only recently that the positive health properties of coffee have been investigated.

This has to be good news for coffee aficionados. The bad news is that drinking caffeinated coffee to excess can still be bad for your general well-being. Nevertheless, as with all things in life, sensible coffee consumption can have beneficial effects. So sticking to the recommended two or three cups a day can actually do you good.

Current research has elevated this everyday beverage to the Number One antioxidant in America, having ten times more antioxidant properties than red wine or tea, traditionally the two big front-runners in the battle against free radicals. But what are free radicals, and why do we need protection from them?

Unlike fish, the human body needs air to survive; in other words, we cannot exist without oxygen. We breathe it in, and it is transported, via the blood stream, to every cell in the body. Put simply, this essential ingredient can become unstable and produce ‘free radicals’

So we generate these ‘baddies’ as a natural by-product within our cell structure but, at the same time, the body is exposed to outside influences such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultra-violet rays, in daily life. Therefore, our bodies are suffering a double attack, from both internal and external forces.

In the light of this information, we are constantly searching for the magic ingredient to ward off health problems brought about by these renegade ‘free radicals’. In high doses however, antioxidants can actually produce a reverse effect, promoting pro-oxidation, or free radical production, but as long as antioxidants are sourced from natural products, and included as part of the daily diet, there will be no problem with over- dosing, and the body will be well protected.

Coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid, which is a potent antioxidant, and a 200 ml. cup of arabica coffee can provide up to 200 mgs. of chlorogenic acid. It’s the roasting process that actually activates the antioxidants, and beans roasted for ten minutes to produce a medium to dark roast are the most beneficial.

The addition of a small amount of sugar and milk are said to boost the antioxidant properties as well. The process of de-caffeination seems to have little effect on the beneficial effects, which is good news for those who suffer from high blood pressure or insomnia.

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