If you are a coffee connoisseur, you may be wondering about the antioxidants in organic black coffee. While a decade or so ago people were being encouraged to give up their morning brew, researchers are now finding that it may actually contribute to your health.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are found in varying levels in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods--including coffee. Once ingested, these antioxidants become the body's major defense against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
An antioxidant rich diet reduces the health risks associated with aging, environmental hazards, and the high levels of stress most people deal with on a daily basis.
Benefits of Organic Black Coffee
All coffee has antioxidants that bring numerous benefits to the table. Some of the benefits of the hot beverage are reduced risk of the following diseases:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Heart disease
- Kidney stones
- Liver cancer
- Parkinson's disease
- Rectal cancer
In addition, drinking that cup of coffee black and unsweetened before breakfast may increase the amount of calories that you burn later on.
Antioxidants in Organic Black Coffee vs. Conventional Coffee
The question remains whether or not the antioxidants in organic black coffee are greater than those found in conventional coffees.
All coffee has high amounts of antioxidants when it is green. Many of these are lost during the roasting process, regardless of whether or not the coffee is organic. Darker roasts decrease the antioxidant content of coffee significantly according to a study by the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
Unless the coffee has had antioxidants added back in, it will have about the same number of antioxidants whether it is organic or not. The levels are not significantly different according to most sources.
Why Buy Organic?
If the antioxidant levels are similar, is there really any reason for the coffee lover to buy organic? The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
While the nutritional content may be similar in both types of coffee, the organic coffee is significantly better for you and for the environment. The chemical pesticides and fertilizers used in the growth of conventional coffees are toxic. Remember that most coffee is grown outside the United States and imported in. While a chemical may be banned for use in this country, that may not be the case in another country. Common pesticides used in coffee growing countries are:
- Endosulfan - This chemical is known to be toxic and a carcinogen. It has a detrimental effect on the nervous system, kidneys, and liver. It does not break down readily and may take years to dissipate.
- Dursban - Banned in the United States in 2000, Dursban is extremely toxic and linked to birth defects.
- Disulfoton - The United States classifies this chemical as a Class 1a pesticide and allows only restricted use because of its toxicity.
Not only do conventional coffees carry these residues as well as a host of others, the way in which coffee is grown negatively impacts the environment as well. Organic coffees have none of the residues and generally are grown in a way that does not disrupt the environment in the area.
Organic Coffee with Supplemental Antioxidants
Some coffee companies add antioxidants to their organic coffees during processing. This enables them to give the consumer the richness of a dark roast and the health benefits of all the original antioxidants. The added oxidants come from plant compounds found in antioxidant rich plants like acai and goji berry as well as re-introducing coffee compounds that were lost in the roasting process. While you may not see these in a local grocery store, many organic coffees are available online. You can find these high oxidant coffees at the following sites:
Enjoying a cup of fragrant coffee is a morning ritual for much of the world's adult population. When you know that you are taking in healthy antioxidants at the same time, it makes the cup even better.