Maximize the Health Benefits of Coffee

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
October 31, 2017

You can reap the health benefits of coffee if you choose brands high in a polyphenol called chlorogenic acid. Even decaf is good for you!

You can trust your cup of java. There is solid evidence for the health benefits of coffee, most recently from a 16-year study of more than 500,000 people. Men who drank three or more cups of coffee daily had up to 12 percent lower risk of dying over those years than men who didn’t drink it at all — and women coffee drinkers got a 7 percent edge.

If you choose brands high in a polyphenol called chlorogenic acid (CGA), you could acheive even greater health benefits of coffee, according to Bob Arnot, MD, an internist and author of “The Coffee Lover’s Diet: Change Your Coffee, Change Your Life.


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As always, don’t bet your bank account on any claim that a dietary change will “change your life”! But coffee is everywhere, and you might as well get the most from it if you drink it.

CGA, which includes several kinds of acids, gives coffee its bitter, acidic taste. So maximizing CGA isn’t for people who don’t actually like coffee.

Arnot reports that among commercial brands, Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend was high in CGA, followed by McCafé Premium Roast Decaf, Medium Roast. Yu can boost CGA by about half if you opt for hand-roasted beans.

Robusta beans contain more CGA than Arabica, and also more caffeine.

According to Arnot, you should favor light roasts of beans grown at high altitudes near the equator, in Kenya, Ethiopia, Columbia, and parts of Brazil.

Steer clear of dark roasts: the high temperature destroys CGA and could generate toxins. Medium roast is the next best option, he advises.


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April 09, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN