Coffee: The Forgotten Health Drink?

When it comes to health benefits, tea gets much of the plaudits in the beverage world. Tea is considered a healthy drink because of the antioxidants it contains. These include catechins in green tea and thearubigins and theaflavins in black tea. However, coffee also contains high amounts of antioxidants and for this reason is also associated with beneficial health effects. The main thing to consider when thinking about the health effects of coffee is that not all coffee is the same. Green unprocessed coffee contains a number of antioxidants including chlorogenic acids, phenolic acids, polyphenols and alkaloids. When roasted to make filter coffee, some of these are altered chemically, but the antioxidant capacity stays high. Instant coffee is processed further, and this means it may not be as rich in antioxidants as green and filter coffee. The antioxidant content of coffee beans also varies, as it does with tea leaves, and this can also influence the antioxidant capacity of the coffee.

coffee antioxidants

Studies looking at the health effects of coffee that have focused on green or filter coffee show it can have similar health effects to tea.


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Brezová, V., Šlebodová, A. and Staško, A. 2009. Coffee as a source of antioxidants: An EPR study. Food Chemistry. 114(3): 859-868

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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