Make Coffee Super-Healthy With Right Roast, Brewing Method

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 04:09 PM

By Lynn Allison

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A recent spate of studies has shown that drinking coffee can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, and migraines. But experts say you can supercharge its health benefits by preparing it correctly.
 
  • A new Harvard University study revealed that three cups of java daily reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • The American Cancer Society says that four cups of caffeinated coffee slashes risk of oral cancer.
  • Scientists at the University of South Florida found that coffee-drinking patients with short-term memory loss did not go on to develop Alzheimer’s during a four-year follow-up.
  • Duke University studies showed that drinking four cups of coffee a day can prevent dangerous non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Australian researchers found that volunteers who drank a cup of joe in the morning reduced their appetite and subsequently lost weight.
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But, according to a leading expert on the benefits of coffee, you can boost the benefits of drinking coffee even further.
 
“Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet,” Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies, tells Newsmax Health.
 
“The antioxidant effects of coffee are related to compounds called chlorogenic acids. These are found in the green coffee beans but are released as you roast the beans.
 
“We measured the levels of beneficial chemicals during several stages of the roasting process and found that if you continue to roast the beans beyond a certain point, the antioxidants begin to break down,” says Dr. Martin. “So the most beneficial cup of coffee is made from medium roasts – not the dark roasts as previously thought.”
For decades doctors believed that coffee was unhealthy, especially for heart patients. That thinking has largely been debunked, says Dr. Martin.
 
“In those days, the medical profession said drinking coffee was harmful. But the methodology of the studies was badly flawed. For example, they didn’t extrapolate coffee drinkers from smokers.”
 
New research has revealed just the opposite. Coffee has many health benefits. And the science has also revealed how to make the healthiest cup possible:
 
  1. Start with a medium roast. Dark roasting (French, Italian roasts) destroys beneficial antioxidants.
 
  1. Using whole beans that you grind right before brewing will make more antioxidants available.
 
  1. Store the beans in an airtight container to reduce air exposure to preserve antioxidants.
 
  1. Use a burr grinder. Blade grinders can heat the coffee, destroying beneficial chemicals.
 
  1. The most healthful brewing methods use an espresso maker or an old-fashioned percolator. Brewing methods that use a coffee filter tend to strip out healthful antioxidants.
 
  1. Caffeinated is healthier than decaf. “Caffeinated coffee has been shown to have benefits for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s prevention,” Dr. Martin notes.
 
  1. Stay away from high-calorie sweeteners. “Coffee in itself is extremely nutritious – anything you add is diminishing it,” says Dr. Martin.
 
Can you drink too much coffee?
 
“Not really,” says Dr. Martin. “I tell my patients if they are having trouble sleeping, cut back slowly until that side effect ceases.”

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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