There are many reasons people avoid caffeine. It acts as a CNS stimulant which can lead to nervousness, irritability and anxiety, it can raise stomach acid levels which can cause heartburn and ulcers, and it also acts as diuretic.
Yet, there are those who cannot start the day without their morning cup of joe. While caffeine has a long list of negative side effects, there is also some positive effects. These include increased alertness, increased memory performance and better reaction time to stimuli. This makes caffeine an ergogenic – A chemical which increases a person’s capability for mental or physical labor.
“Most of that is common knowledge though. Are there any long term benefits?”
The old saying certainly rings true here – everything in moderation. No matter how harmless a chemical or substance might seem, it will become increasingly more harmful if not taken in moderation. With that out of the way, a new study published by the American Chemical Society is reporting caffeine is a powerful and effective antioxidant.
Caffeine is an antioxidant?
In a recent in-depth study, scientists discovered how the caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods protects against conditions such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease at the most fundamental level. The study describes the specific chemistry behind caffeine’s antioxidant effects and appears in the current issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry.
In the study, Jorge Rafael León-Carmona and Annia Galano present their evidence which suggests that coffee is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in an average person’s diet. The newest research strongly suggests that caffeine (also present in tea, cocoa, and other foods) is the source of those powerful antioxidant effects which help protect people from many serious diseases. However, scientists have failed to pinpoint how caffeine works in scavenging these so-called free radicals that have damaging, negative effects in our body.
In their effort to increase scientific knowledge on caffeine, they attempt to solve this by presenting detailed mathematical calculations on caffeine’s interaction with free radicals. Those theoretical conclusions show “excellent” consistency with the results that other scientists have reported from other experiments – strengthening the likelihood that caffeine is the source of the robust antioxidant activity in coffee.
- It is estimated that over 450,000,000 cups of coffee are consumed in the USA every single day.
- The darker the roast of the coffee bean, the less caffeine it has. This is because the roasting process destroys the caffeine within the bean. If you like your coffee to contain as much caffeine as possible, go with the lightest roast.
Reference: Journal of Physical Chemistry 2011, pp 4538-4546 DOI: 10.1021/jp201383y