Recent research has been shedding light on the wealth of benefits that coffee has to offer. Besides getting you up and going in the morning, this popular beverage – without the sugar and chemical creamers – can do a great deal for your health.
A new study performed by Cornell University researchers has singled out a significant way that coffee can benefit eye health – by potentially preventing retinal degeneration, which can lead to poor eyesight and even blindness. Retinal degeneration can be caused by a number of factors, including diabetes, as well as the toll that aging often takes on the eyes.
In particular, the study focused on the protective effects of chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant found in coffee beans, especially in raw (aka green) coffee beans. Chlorogenic acid has been found to help fight free radical damage and oxidative stress.
For the study, researchers initiated oxidative stress and free radicals in the eyes of mice, via treatment with nitric oxide. Some of the mice had been given chlorogenic acid before the nitric oxide treatment, while others had not.
Results of the experiment found that the mice that had received chlorogenic acid did not exhibit signs of retinal damage. Researchers say that the next step is to test whether the chlorogenic acid found in coffee crosses the blood-retinal barrier, which would deliver its benefits directly to the eyes.
As raw (green) coffee contains significantly more chlorogenic acid than roasted coffee, raw coffee may provide more retinal protection benefits than its roasted counterpart. According to research, chlorogenic acid also inhibits an enzyme that encourages the liver’s production of sugar, which may help to prevent diabetes and other blood sugar disorders. He also states that chlorogenic acid may be responsible for green coffee’s ability to fight obesity.
Eye health is just the tip of the iceberg of coffee’s many benefits. As we reported in a previous article, coffee may also protect against liver damage, improve both mood and cognitive function and boost metabolism. Drinking coffee has also been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Regarding the new study, senior author and Cornell University professor of food science, Chang Y. Lee, states that the new research is, “important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects.” We are so glad that more and more research is being dedicated to discovering these effects, so that people can turn back to nature to prevent and heal what ails us.
-The Alternative Daily