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Coffee's Benefits Linked to Roasting Process

Coffee has been receiving an increased amount of attention because of its antioxidant capacity and associated health properties. Until now though research has been lacking regarding the nature of the stable antioxidants found in coffee, which are purported to protect cells from damage and aging.

Previous research has cited factors such as the brewing method and the source of the beans, but there was no definite answer.

Researchers from the University of British Colombia recently filled this gap in knowledge with a new study published in the February 2011 issue of the journal Food Research International.

The researchers compared the chemical composition of non-roasted coffee beans and roasted coffee beans.

They found that green unroasted coffee beans contain natural antioxidants called chlorogenic acids. These antioxidants are said to have antibacterial properties.

Once the coffee beans are roasted, however, most of those antioxidants are destroyed and a new class of potent antioxidants called maillard reaction products is created.

These findings show that the antioxidant benefits in coffee are not traced back to the caffeine content or natural, chlorogenic antioxidants in coffee beans but instead are related to the roasting process and the resultant creation of this new class of antioxidants.

These antioxidants are likely responsible for the various health benefits associated with coffee. These benefits include reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities. Over half a dozen different studies have also shown that people who drink coffee regularly are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

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