Polyphenols: The Magic Substance in Your Coffee
Posted by Hook Coffee on March 5, 2018, 2:39 p.m.
You might already have come across an article online, or several articles, that emphatically claim, “Coffee is good for you!” While this generalization is for the most part true, most people don’t understand why this is the case. To cover all the reasons and explore the underlying science would take the entirety of a book, so this post will focus on one key ingredient that contributes to this claim, polyphenols.
“What is this strange, tongue-twisting word?”
We're glad you asked.
To break it down, polyphenols are a group of “phytochemicals.”
What are phytochemicals?
They're chemical compounds produced by plants. They often give plants their color acting as a means of protection from danger. Some phytochemicals can be bad for us, think oxycodone and cocaine, but most are beneficial. In fact the largest subset of these “good” phytochemicals is polyphenols, and they can offer tremendous health benefits.
Polyphenols themselves have several subcategories, including flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans, and phenolic acids. Flavonoids and and phenolic acids are what’s primarily found in in teas and coffees. While these polyphenols can affect the taste of certain brews, their effect is relatively minor. Generally, people are more interested in the health benefits of these little guys.
So what are those health benefits?
Well, the most notable benefit would have to be polyphenols' antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
If you didn’t already know, antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. In layman’s terms, this means that antioxidants can negate the effects of potentially damaging molecules called “free radicals.” Free radicals carry an unpaired electron, meaning they’re very unstable, reacting quickly to other compounds as they look to capture an extra electron to gain stability. These free-radicals don’t discriminated and will react to any compound, potentially causing damage to the body. Free radicals are caused by ingested toxins and everyday pollution. Left unchecked, these free radicals can damage the body at a cellular level. Given enough time this damage can lead to all sorts of complications, most notably cancer. Antioxidants help eliminate this potential damage. By quickly giving that need electron to “scavenging” free radicals, antixoidants serve as a kind of barrier that can help reduce the risk of some cancers,Alzheimer’s disease arthritis related conditions.That’s why they play such a beneficial role in the human body. More antioxidants means a greater elimination of free radicals, and the less potential danger from everyday toxins.
Lucky for you, polyphenols are one of the best sources of antioxidants and they’re abundant in coffee.
But that’s not where the benefits of polyphenols end.
Polyphenols have also been shown to reduce to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, and boost energy by aiding the mitochondria. Pretty cool stuff, especially considering that the scientific community’s knowledge of polyphenols in relatively new. Only in the last twenty years has science really started to uncovered these benefits of polyphenols. Combine these benefits with other some of the other more well-known advantages of coffee and you can see how this drink is a great alternative to other everyday drinks.
Disclaimer: EVERYTHING should be consumed in moderation. Also, polyphenols won’t cure you of your diseases and solve all your problems. And if you have a preexisting condition please first consult your doctor!
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of polyphenols and why coffee's great for you. Even if you don't really care about anything we've just shared, coffee tastes and smells amazing - a total mood booster when you're feeling a little down.
The Hook Coffee Team