You already know that coffee is filled with antioxidants, which is why this regular morning drink is associated with many health benefits. But if you really want to maximize those benefits in your every cup, a recent study suggests choosing a light roast over dark.
In the recent study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, Korean researchers compared coffees of several different roasting levels, and analyzed their levels of chlorogenic acid, a well-known antioxidant and caffeine content. Also, they exposed extract of each coffee to human cell cultures to test their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Dark Roast vs Light Roast Coffee: Which Has More Health Benefits?
What are the results? The lighter the roast, the better the coffee extract protected human cells against oxidation or cell damage and inflammation, the higher the chlorogenic acid content when tested in the lab. The caffeine levels, on the other hand, did not vary significantly between the samples.
These cell-culture findings could potentially translate to real-life benefits, but they have to be replicated in human trials before any definite conclusions can be formed, that is according to Sampath Parthasarathy, PhD, Journal of Medicinal Food editor-in-chief and an interim associate dean at the University of Central Florida School of Medicine.
“We know that antioxidants helps in protecting against many health problems, and also we know that inflammation is the basis of many chronic diseases, whether it is heart disease, diabetes, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer,” says Parthasarathy. “But these diseases are progressive and can occur over a period of time, therefore you cannot see long-term benefits by just conduction a test-tube study.”
The study specifically looked at Arabica coffee beans, which were roasted at levels corresponding to “light,” “medium,” “city,” and “French” roasts. The roasted beans were then ground and then run through an espresso machine to get the extract used in testing.
It is not surprising that lighter roasts would contain higher levels of antioxidant activity. When you roast something, and expose it to air, with the temperature and time element involved, and all of those things contribute to oxidation.
This depletes the antioxidant molecules that is present in the coffee grinds. During the roasting process, the antioxidant molecules sacrifice themselves. But ideally you would want to preserve them as much as possible, so they can have a much better effect inside the body rather”
The amount of time coffee is roasted, is only part of the equation when it comes to maximizing its superfood potential. More research on different types of beans that is being grown in different climates and regions, and on different brewing processes, as well-like cold brew versus conventional, needed to be studied.
Most people will not consider anti-inflammatory or antioxidants properties, but this study brings to light that the benefits of coffee, most especially certain types of coffee, may be beyond what most of us would think.
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