Most people love coffee + Coffee has lots of antioxidants + Antioxidants are good for you = Drink more coffee and reap the health benefits
Coffee and Antioxidants
Coffee definitely has antioxidants. There are approximately 1,000 antioxidants in green coffee beans, and the heat from brewing these beans adds an additional 300. Some fruits and vegetable have more antioxidants than coffee, but Americans don’t eat all of the fruits and vegetables they should. A 2005 study by researchers at the University of Scranton (Pa.) found that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants for Americans. The chart below shows that coffee blows away the competition.
In fact, coffee has more antioxidants than other beverages:
|Antioxidant content mmol/100 ga)||n||min||max|
|Black tea, prepared||1.0||5||0.75||1.21|
|Cocoa with milk||0.37||4||0.26||0.45|
|Coffee, prepared filter and boiled||2.5||31||1.24||4.20|
|Green tea, prepared||1.5||17||0.57||2.62|
But, there are many fruits and vegetables that have more antioxidants than coffee:
|Antioxidant content mmol/100 ga)||n||Min||Max|
|African baobab tree, leaves dry, crushed||48.1||1||–||–|
|Amla (Indian gooseberry), dried||261.5||1||–||–|
|Chilli, red and green||2.4||3||2.08||2.92|
|Dog rose, products of dried hip||69.4||3||54.30||75.84|
|Dog rose, wild, dried||78.1||1||–||–|
|Dog rose, wild, fresh||24.3||3||12.65||34.49|
|Fruit from the African baobab tree||10.8||1||–||–|
|Moringa Stenopetala, dried leaves, stem||11.9||1||–||–|
|Moringa Stenopetala, fresh leaves, stem||3.7||1||–||–|
|Okra/gumbo from Mali, dry, flour||4.2||1||–||–|
|Zereshk, red sour berries||27.3||1||–||–|
Conclusion – Coffee is a very good source of antioxidants.
Well, there’s a new factor in the equation…
What are flavonoids? Flavonoids are plant-based polyphenol chemicals that are basically a subset of antioxidants. Among other roles, flavonoids provide much of the pigment in plants (such as the color in flowers and the blue in blueberries). When the flavonoids are consumed by humans, they act as antioxidants, much like vitamins, plus they have anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-allergic properties (read here for more on that). (You may remember the studies – which have since been largely discounted – that touted the consumption of red wine because the flavonoids in red wine helped to reduce heart disease and cholesterol.)
In fact, flavoniods are the largest nutrient family known to scientists. Over 6,000 unique flavonoids have discovered so far, but there is still lot of research and work to be done. Flavonoids have been proven to have antioxidant properties, but it is not clear if they should be considered to be in the same category as more widely known antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C or vitamin E.
So, what do flavonoids have to do with coffee?
According to this article by NPR, researchers found that some studies found that people who had diets high in antioxidants had a lower risk for , but in other studies the consumption of antioxidants did not lower the risk for stroke and dementia. After further research, it was concluded that antioxidants in the form of flavonoids were the ones with the most health benefits, and coffee is full of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids.
More research has to be done, of course, but that’s certainly good news for coffee drinkers.