(NaturalNews) Drink too much coffee and you can suffer from anxiety, heart palpitations and insomnia. But in moderate quantities, coffee can offer health benefits -- including slashing the risk of certain cancers. It may even lower the chance of developing dementia(http://www.naturalnews.com/025737_coffee_ris...).
Now scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have figured out much of the complex chemistry behind coffee's remarkable health benefits. And the healthiest form of coffee appears to be the dark roasted variety of java.
It turns out that the roasting process itself releases antioxidants. This is important because antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. And free radical damage may lead to cancer and other chronic diseases.
The new study, headed by Yazheng Liu and David Kitts, is set for publication in the journal Food Research International. The UBC research team discovered that when green coffee beans are browned under high temperatures, a chemical process occurs known as the Maillard reaction which loads dark roasted coffee with protective antioxidants.
The Maillard reaction is named after early 20th century French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard who pioneered study into how heat affects the carbohydrates, sugars and proteins in food, such as when meat is grilled or bread is toasted. During the heating process, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created that, in turn, break down to form even more compounds. Each type of food has a distinctive set of these compounds that are created during the Maillard reaction.
"Previous studies suggested that antioxidants in coffee could be traced to caffeine or the chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans, but our results clearly show that the Maillard reaction is the main source of antioxidants," Liu, a graduate student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS), said in a media statement.
So drinking the dark roasted variety could increase the health benefits of java -- benefits which include possibly preventing certain cancers. For example, in the first study of its kind, Harvard researchers previously noted a strong link between drinking coffee and a lowered chance of men developing the most deadly and aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
The scientists found that men who consumed the most coffee had a 60 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than men who were not coffee drinkers and concluded the many biologically active natural compounds in coffee, including antioxidants, could explain the lowered risk of the most serious forms of prostate cancer in coffee drinkers.