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Originally published May 15 2015

Coffee antioxidants found to be 500 times more effective than vitamin C

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The components of coffee beans that are typically discarded are 500 times higher in antioxidant activity than vitamin C and serve as powerful prebiotics and antimicrobials, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Granada that was published in the journal Food Science and Technology.

The byproducts of roasting coffee beans and brewing coffee amount to more than 2 billion metric tons each year. These byproducts include the silverskin -- the outer layer of the bean, which is removed after drying -- and the coffee grounds, which are generally discarded after brewing.

In the new study, the researchers sought to determine whether these "waste" products might have any nutritional uses.

Powerful antioxidants, immune boosters

Coffee grounds are already used for several purposes, albeit mainly on the small scale. They can be used as fertilizers for certain soils as well as for homemade exfoliants or abrasive cleaners. Nevertheless, nearly all coffee grounds are disposed of in landfills, and nearly all silverskins are also treated as waste.

The new study found that coffee grounds and silverskins are remarkably high in fiber and phenolic compounds with both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The coffee grounds alone have 500 times more antioxidant power than vitamin C.

"They also contain high levels of melanoidins, which are produced during the roasting process and give coffee its brown color," lead researcher Jose Angel Rufian Henares said.

Melanoidins are powerful antimicrobials.

"The biological properties of these melanoidins could be harnessed for a range of practical applications, such as preventing harmful pathogens from growing in food products," Rufian Henares said.

Coffee grounds and silverskins are not edible, so their potential likely lies in finding a way to extract the antioxidants found in them and adding them to other foods. This might be essential for the prebiotic potential found in the coffee byproducts because melanoidins are so antimicrobial that they would counter these prebiotic effects.

"If we are to harness the beneficial prebiotic effects of the coffee by-products, first of all we need to remove the melanoidins," Rufian Henares said.

The researchers also found that including sugar during the roasting of coffee beans increased both the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of the "waste" products without reducing prebiotic activity.

The Spanish Ministry of Economics and Finance has allocated more resources to the researchers to continue their studies. The scientists hope to find way to recycle coffee byproducts as food ingredients, thereby boosting the nutrient content of foods while reducing the environmental impact of the coffee industry.

Coffee benefits without the risks?

The study is significant, partly because it suggests that people might be able to reap some of the health benefits of coffee consumption without actually drinking the caffeinated beverage. This is especially important for people concerned that caffeine consumption might cause or worsen a condition known as adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue refers to a cluster of fatigue-related symptoms said to be caused by overstressed, poorly responsive adrenal glands. In addition to directly reducing people's quality of life, adrenal fatigue is also believed to threaten their long-term health.

"The hormones produced by your adrenal glands, particularly the stress hormone cortisol, play an important role in regulating your immune system," writes The Adrenal Fatigue Solution author and wellness coach Fawne Hansen at "If your cortisol levels go too low or too high, this can lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies."

The term "adrenal fatigue" was coined in 1998 by chiropractor and naturopath James M. Wilson. Wilson notes that people suffering from adrenal fatigue might need to rely on coffee to get out of bed in the morning, but he does not suggest that caffeinated beverages can cause the condition. However, other writers such as Hansen warn that the adrenal glands can be stressed by constant caffeine consumption, thereby inducing adrenal fatigue.

(Natural News Science)


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