Why that morning coffee is more important now than ever

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | General Health | Monday, July 07, 2014 - 06:00 AM

dna, fat, dna, fatHere’s to enjoying your morning joe!

Coffee has been in the hot seat for years and there are a number of studies that are both for and against the popular caffeinated beverage. Now you can add one more plus to the list.

New research shows that coffee might help to keep your DNA healthy and cut body fat, too. DNA, if you need a little biology lesson here, is the self-replicating material inside every cell in our body, so healthy DNA means that our cellular ability to heal and rejuvenate is working as it should.

Two European studies founds that regularly drinking one particular market blend of coffee showed an association with protection against damage to DNA. The coffee that was used in the study was rich in green bean coffee compounds. It was this form of special coffee that was positively associated with energy and nutrient intake as well as reduced body fat.

RELATED READING: How smoking affects your morning coffee

Coffee as a potential fat burner (without even trying)

The research shows that regularly drinking coffee comes with health benefits, researchers from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and the University of Vienna wrote. These boosts include maintenance of DNA integrity, regulation of satiety and increase in the ability to burn fat.

The research was published in European Journal of Nutrition and Food Research International, and co-funded by the German coffee company Tchibo which has a patent for the special coffee used in the studies. Still, I’ll drink to that!

The study looked at 84 healthy adult men and compared the special coffee to regular water. In this first part of the study, the group that drank the coffee for four weeks, spontaneous DNA strand breaks were down compared to a slight increase for the water group. The difference ended up being 27 percent between the two groups with the coffee drinkers coming out in better shape.

For the second part of the study, the 84 healthy subjects drank either the special coffee or a market-blend coffee for four weeks, which were assigned at random. Both groups had lost body fat after four weeks. The difference was 1.7 kg for the special group and 1.15 kg for the market group. A protective effect for DNA was also seen in both groups.

RELATED READING: Dirty little secret hiding in your instant coffee

More health benefits of coffee: Polyphenols

These studies aren’t the first to find some real benefit in coffee consumption. Research published in Physiology & Behavior found that coffee is one of the richest food sources of polyphenols, which is a plant compound with a variety of health and nutritional benefits.

Other, older research, which was funded by the Nestle Research Center compared the consumption of 27 ounces of paper-filtered coffee and water. These results showed that coffee drinkers experienced a measurable decline in DNA damage but no difference in antioxidant blood levels.

While this research doesn’t show a risk between coffee consumption and heart disease or cancer, the rich morning drink could have other health benefits that haven’t been properly studied yet. There are also some risks from drinking unfiltered coffee. And the Harvard School of Public Health advises coffee fans to use a paper filter for brewing, saying it removes a substance in the drink that increases LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

When it comes to your coffee fix, take measures to make is as healthy as you can. Mind the filters, and the cream and sugar (those empty calories)!


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