What Are Coffee Antioxidants?

Erin J. Hill

Coffee antioxidants are, simply put, antioxidants which are found in coffee beans and beverages made with them. Antioxidants are cancer-fighting substances, such as certain vitamins and minerals, which reduce or prevent the effects of oxidation within cells and tissues. Melanoidins and caffeic acid are both examples of antioxidant substances found in coffee.

Whole roasted coffee beans.
Whole roasted coffee beans.

In most industrialized areas, coffee antioxidants are the most widely consumed. This is mainly due to the modern Western diet being deficient in other antioxidant-rich foods, such as blueberries and dark leafy greens. Some studies have shown that drinking coffee every day may help prevent the rich of heart disease and other illnesses, such as cancer and type-2 diabetes.

The concentration of antioxidants in coffee depends on various factors, including how long the beans were roasted.
The concentration of antioxidants in coffee depends on various factors, including how long the beans were roasted.

Although coffee antioxidants have various health benefits, the caffeine found in most coffee should only be consumed in moderation. Those who ingest large amounts of caffeine per day may experience rapid heart rate, sleeplessness, and other negative side effects. Women who are breastfeeding or nursing an infant should be especially careful of their caffeine consumption. Decaffeinated coffees are available, although the antioxidant content may vary.

The number and concentrations of coffee antioxidants will depend on the type of coffee and the roast of the coffee beans. Dark roasted varieties have the highest concentration. The stronger the coffee is brewed, the higher the antioxidant content as well, although this is also true of the caffeine content. If you want to drink coffee just for the antioxidant benefits, you would do better to eat foods which contain them instead since you will get all the same benefits without the downsides associated with caffeine consumption.

Coffee antioxidants may be more potent in fresh beans. Organically grown options may also offer added benefits, since they do not contain pesticides and other carcinogens. These varieties are becoming more widely available, and they can often be found in chain supermarkets and health food stores.

Those who are concerned with disease prevention should speak with a licensed nutritionist, dietitian, or physician for guidance. It is best to combine a wide variety of foods and beverages to make the most of antioxidant support. Tea and many fruits and vegetables contain different types of antioxidants. Dietary supplements, such as green tea extract or acai extract, can be purchased for the same purpose.

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