Quantcast

Coffee and Antioxidants: Everything You Need to Know

Health + Wellness
Elena Pueyo / Moment / Getty Images

By Adda Bjarnadottir, MS

Opinions on coffee vary greatly—some consider it healthy and energizing, while others claim it's addictive and harmful.


Still, when you look at the evidence, most studies on coffee and health find that it's beneficial.

For example, coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, liver diseases, and Alzheimer's (1, 2, 3, 4).

Many of coffee's positive health effects may be due to its impressive content of powerful antioxidants.

In fact, studies show that coffee is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the human diet.

This article tells you everything you need to know about coffee's impressive antioxidant content.

Loaded With Several Powerful Antioxidants

Your body is under constant attack from so-called free radicals, which can damage important molecules like proteins and DNA.

Antioxidants can effectively disarm free radicals, thus protecting against aging and many diseases that are partly caused by oxidative stress, including cancer.

Coffee is particularly rich in several powerful antioxidants, including hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols (5, 6, 7).

Hydrocinnamic acids are very effective at neutralizing free radicals and preventing oxidative stress (8).

What's more, the polyphenols in coffee may prevent a number of conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes (9, 10, 11, 12).

Summary

Coffee is very rich in antioxidants—including polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids—that may improve health and reduce your risk of several diseases.

The Biggest Dietary Source of Antioxidants

Most people consume about 1–2 grams of antioxidants per day—primarily from beverages like coffee and tea (13, 14, 15).

Beverages are a much larger source of antioxidants in the Western diet than food. In fact, 79% of dietary antioxidants come from beverages, while only 21% come from food (16).

That's because people tend to consume more servings of antioxidant-rich drinks than foods.

In one study, researchers looked at the antioxidant content of different foods by serving size.

Coffee ranked 11th on the list behind several types of berries (7).

Yet, as many people eat few berries but drink several cups of coffee per day, the total amount of antioxidants provided by coffee far outweighs that of berries—even though berries may contain greater amounts per serving.

In Norwegian and Finnish studies, coffee was shown to be the single biggest antioxidant source—providing about 64% of people's total antioxidant intake.

In these studies, the average coffee intake was 450–600 ml per day, or 2–4 cups (13, 17).

Additionally, studies from Spain, Japan, Poland, and France concluded that coffee is by far the biggest dietary source of antioxidants (14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21).

Summary

People tend to get more antioxidants from beverages than foods, and studies from all over the world demonstrate that coffee is the single biggest dietary source of antioxidants.

Linked to a Reduced Risk of Many Diseases

Coffee is associated with a reduced risk of many diseases.

For example, coffee drinkers have a 23–50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Each daily cup is linked to a 7% reduced risk (1, 22, 23, 24, 25).

Coffee also seems to be very beneficial for your liver, as coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of liver cirrhosis (3, 26, 27).

What's more, it may lower your risk of liver and colorectal cancer, and several studies have observed a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke (28, 29, 30, 31, 32).

Regularly drinking coffee may also reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease by 32–65% (2, 33, 34, 35, 36).

Some studies indicate that coffee may benefit other aspects of mental health as well. Women who drink coffee are less likely to become depressed and die by suicide (37, 38).

Above all, drinking coffee has been linked to a longer lifespan and up to a 20–30% lower risk of premature death (4, 39).

Still, keep in mind that most of these studies are observational. They cannot prove that coffee caused the reduction in disease risk—only that coffee drinkers were less likely to get these diseases.

Summary

Drinking coffee has been linked to numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and liver, heart, and neurological diseases. It may also benefit mental health and help you live longer.

The Bottom Line

There are many types of dietary antioxidants, and coffee is a very good source of some of them.

However, it does not provide the same antioxidants as whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables — so while coffee may be the biggest dietary source of antioxidants, it should never be your only source.

For optimal health, it's best to get a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds from many different sources.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Makayla Meixner

Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices worldwide.

Read More Show Less
Many common snack foods have been expertly engineered to keep us addicted. Karen M. Romanko / Photolibrary / Getty Images

By Melissa Kravitz

Can't stop eating that bag of chips until you're licking the salt nestled in the corners of the empty package from your fingers? You're not alone. And it's not entirely your fault that the intended final handful of chips was not, indeed, your last for that snacking session. Many common snack foods have been expertly engineered to keep us addicted, almost constantly craving more of whatever falsely satisfying manufactured treat is in front of us.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Hannes Kutza / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Kim Knowlton

A new paper just out in The Lancet Planetary Health provides the first global indication that recent temperature increases, propelled by climate change, are in fact contributing significantly to longer and more intense pollen seasons.

Read More Show Less
Jordan Siemens / Taxi / Getty Images

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its second photo contest! Earth Day is happening on April 22nd, and this year's theme is "Protect Our Species." With that in mind, we want EcoWatchers to show us your photographs of creatures that inhabit Earth. Send us your best photos of species you value.

Read More Show Less
A new study based on data from the Energy Information Agency found that coal plants are now far more expensive to run than wind and solar power projects. reynermedia / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

In propping up the coal industry, the Trump administration is not only contributing to dangerous pollution, fossil fuel emissions and the climate crisis, it is also now clinging to a far more expensive energy production model than renewable energy offers.

That's according to a new report from renewable energy analysis firm Energy Innovation, showing that about three-quarters of power produced by the nation's remaining coal plants is more expensive for American households than renewables including wind, solar and hydro power.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Cars piled up in the Iranian city of Shiraz after flash flooding swept through the city. AMIN BERENJKAR / AFP / Getty Images

At least 19 people have died and more than 100 have been injured in flash flooding in the south of Iran, the country's semi-official Tasnim News Agency said. The city of Shiraz in Fars province was the worst hit by the flooding, which occurred after a month's worth of rain fell in a few hours, CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.

Read More Show Less
Two Sherpa descending from Everest Base Camp, Himalayas, Khumbu, Nepal. Joel Addams / Aurora Photos / Getty Images

Climate change is having a grizzly effect on Mount Everest as melting snow and glaciers reveal some of the bodies of climbers who died trying to scale the world's highest peak.

Read More Show Less
Navajo Generating Station, Arizona. Wolfgang Moroder / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Navajo Nation has decided to stop pursuing the acquisition of a beleaguered coal-fired power plant in Arizona, locking in the plant to be taken offline and its associated coal mine to close later this year.

A Navajo Nation Council committee voted 11-9 last week to stop pursuing the purchase of the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station, which with the Kayenta coal mine provides more than 800 jobs to primarily Navajo and Hopi workers as well as tribal royalties.

A coalition of utilities that own the plant said in 2017 it would cease operations due to increased economic pressure, and the plant's future has proved a flash point for national and regional energy policy and raised larger questions on how Native communities will handle ties to fossil fuel industries as the economy changes.

For a deeper dive:

Arizona Republic, Indian Country Today, AP, WOKV, Farmington Daily Times

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.