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Which Coffees are Highest in Antioxidants?

Which Coffees are Highest in Antioxidants?

As researchers learn more about antioxidants with health and disease, they increasingly find themselves drawn to their influence on overall health. With them becoming an ever larger realm of study, people are looking for new ways to obtain high levels for them to be beneficial.

Since coffees are one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, it was natural for researchers to test coffee.

Surprisingly, they found that some coffees have extremely high levels. The Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Pavia in Pavia, Italy, studied the antioxidants present in the green and dark roasted coffees Coffee Arabica and Coffee robusta.

They found that all of the studied coffees showed a strong presence of them and also antiradical activity.

There was no difference found between the green and dark roasted coffee, indicating that the roasting process did not damage the natural presence in the coffee beans.

The School of Food Bio Sciences at The University of Reading, Whiteknights in Reading, United Kingdom looked at the effects of roasting coffee and if that negatively affects the presence of it in the bean.


Natural Antioxidants

Over the years man has depended on nature as his main source of nutrients that are essential for his well being and good health. Plants are the main source of our food as well as our medicines and we depend on them almost completely so that the body can develop to its full potential while at the same time also decreasing the incidences of degenerative diseases.

Scientists have recently discovered the substance that is responsible for some of the many health benefits that man has been deriving from plants. Vegetables as well as fruits appear to contain certain chemical substances that react with specific, harmful molecules that are present in our bodies and stop them from causing any damage to our cells. These substances have come to be named natural oxidants because they mainly work on free radicals, which are by-products of oxygen.

The body is protected against free radicals by natural oxidants. Of the many functions that natural antioxidants perform, one of them is to prevent the occurrence of cellular damage that is brought about by free radicals. The oxidation process that our body undergoes when we breathe produces chemical substances that are highly reactive. These chemical substances are called free radicals.

When they are released, free radicals immediately get latched onto other molecules and steal their electrons. This results in the molecules turning as unstable as the free radicals themselves. A rapid chain reaction soon ensues and if left unattended this can lead to numerous other degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, memory loss, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

The primary sources of natural antioxidants are plants. The human body is incapable of producing the natural oxidants that it needs. That is the reason why we are solely dependant on our diet so that our body gets the necessary amount of antioxidants.

Some of the more well-known natural antioxidant groups include carotenoids, indoles, coumarins and catechins. All of these are complex compounds and are present in almost all plants. Carotenoids form the biggest group of antioxidants that occur naturally, closely followed by coumarins and indoles. Catechins are antioxidants that occur naturally in the plant Camellia sinensis, which gives us our black tea, oolong tea as well as green tea.

The most commonly found and well-known natural antioxidant within the carotenoid group is Beta- carotene. Another name for the antioxidant Beta –carotene is Vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin that plays an important role in preventing damage to the eye. This natural antioxidant provides support to the immune system, increases lung capacity, supports healthy levels of cholesterol and potentially reduces the risk of skin damage from sun exposure. Some studies have been done that prove beta-carotene is also good for a healthy heart.

The natural antioxidants that are present in catechins help promote health by giving the immune system a boost thereby lowering the chances of infection. Catechins are also great inducers of weight loss.


Antioxidants - Can They Halt the Ravages of Time

Antioxidants have in recent times become a hugely popular buzzword. Everybody seems to credit antioxidants with curing many different conditions including aging and cancer.

So what exactly are these antioxidants that everybody’s talking about? How do they help strengthen or heal the human body? The theory behind the working of antioxidants is easy to understand but there is still some controversy regarding their efficacy.

The human body produces energy by metabolizing oxygen. This metabolic process forms free radicals as a natural by-product. Free radicals are individual atoms or sometimes groups of atoms that have unbalanced or unpaired electrons. These free radicals are volatile particles and they rob electrons from other molecules and cells within the body, sometimes causing cell damage that manifests itself as disease and aging.

Having free radicals present in the body is quite normal. It is when there are excessive quantities that significant harm can be done. It is well known that exposure to pollution, excessive sunlight, radiation, smoking and alcohol exaggerates the effects caused by free radicals and could lead to serious illness and/or premature aging.

Damage done by free radicals has serious consequences. Some of the negative effects of free radicals include:

* The aging process is speeded up
* Hardening of arteries (arteriosclerosis) and other cardiovascular diseases. When Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol reacts with free radicals it tends to adhere to the arterial walls. LDL is also known as bad cholesterol and is one of the major causes of Coronary Heart Disease.
* The lenses in the eyes start deteriorating leading to failing eyesight.
* The breakdown in cells that are present in the nervous system results in diseases like Dementia and Parkinson’s.
* Cell DNA undergoes changes that eventually lead to certain cancers.
* Inflammation in the joints causing arthritis.

When free radicals get mopped up by antioxidants, the impact that they have on cells gets neutralized. The foods that we eat contain varying degrees of naturally found antioxidants. Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and the mineral Selenium are some oxidants that are most commonly known. Besides these, there are numerous other compounds that do the function of antioxidants. Anthocyanins and lycopene are two such compounds, which have been categorized as non-nutrient antioxidants. These non-nutrient antioxidants have little or no value nutritionally but it is their antioxidant properties that make them valuable.

Tests that have been conducted on animals have shown that there is a clear link between the use of antioxidants and a decrease in the onset of diseases. The connection between antioxidants and diseases is not so clear in humans and has not yet been fully established. However certain anecdotal evidence points to the fact that lycopene-rich tomatoes may possible reduce the incidence of prostrate cancer and flavenoid-rich green tea could lower the rate of heart disease.

The results of recently conducted clinical studies have largely been inconclusive and inconsistent. Some of the inconsistencies include:
* Chinese women and men who underwent treatment with a combination of Beta-carotene, Vitamin E and Selenium had a lower incidence of cancers including gastric cancer.
* The incidence of lung cancer was significantly increased in male Finnish smokers who were given Beta-carotene and supplements of Vitamin E appeared to have had no impact.

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