Coffee, according to a Turkish idiom, should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love – which hardly sounds like a recipe for perfect health.
Many nutritional therapists see coffee as an addictive, dehydrating, poisonous, nutrient-free, sleep-interrupting, moodaltering, headache-triggering virtual poison that we’d be better off rejecting in favour of filtered water from the Himalayas and organic herbal teas. But how valid is this perception? Is it based on reputable research or is the anti-coffee brigade guilty of ignoring evidence that suggests a different story?
Reappraisal of coffee’s perceived role in our diets may be necessary
A few studies, including a relatively new one from the United States, suggest that a reappraisal of coffee’s perceived role in our diets may be necessary. Researchers from the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, have found that coffee provides more antioxidants in the average American diet than any other food or drink – four times as many as the second-placed provider, tea.
In other studies, the beverage appears to demonstrate an antioxidant activity comparable to that of tea, red wine and certain fruits, which is news to most. “According to a survey, 86% of people aren’t aware of coffee’s high antioxidant content,” says Zoe Wheeldon of the Coffee Science Information Centre. “In fact, ordinary coffee and decaffeinated coffee are both rich in antioxidants, and this characteristic isn’t affected by adding milk or sugar, or by the roasting methods used on the beans themselves.”