Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and many people cannot start their day without their first cup. However, there are more benefits to drinking coffee besides just the taste and the ritual. In a new study, coffee is found to have an antioxidant that will actually protect the degeneration of eyesight.
Chang Y Lee, a professor of science and food at Cornell University explains how coffee can help protect eyesight. Lee says that raw coffee contains only one percent caffeine, but it also contains between seven and nine antioxidants, which prevent degeneration of the retina in mice. Lee explains that the retina is only a thin layer of tissue on the back wall of the eye. There are millions of light-sensitive cells and nerve cells, which receive and translate visual information. Yee says the loss of eyesight is partly due to the lack of oxygen, but also due to the production free radicals.
The retinal tissue demands a high level of oxygen, and when it does not receive it, there is a danger of oxidative stress. When oxidative stress occurs, the outcome is loss of sight and tissue damage. Retinal degeneration is caused, not only by the lack of oxygen and production of free radicals, but it can also by aging, glaucoma, and diabetes. The antioxidant found in coffee has many health benefits, but it can also help protect eyesight from being damaged.
In the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers studied the impact of chlorogenic acid (CLA). CLA is an antioxidant that has been proven to prevent the erosion of retinal tissue in mice. In the study, some mice were treated with a substance, which would create oxidative stress, the production of free radicals, and lead to retinal collapse. Other mice were treated with the antioxidant CLA. The mice that were treated with the CLA antioxidant showed no signs of harm to the retina.
Even though the mice that were treated with the antioxidant did not develop retinal damage, researchers are not claiming that drinking coffee can deliver the same results in humans. It is unknown how the CLA antioxidant would be delivered to the retina by the simple method of drinking coffee. Future studies will be conducted that will test the delivery method of CLA, via eye drops, or creating a special brew of coffee specifically meant for eye health.
In another study regarding coffee consumption and benefits, scientists studied 95,000 women and 28,000 men. The results found that people who drank three or more cups of coffee throughout the day were at the lowest risk of having diabetes. This number is 37 percent lower than people who only drank a cup, or less, of coffee a day.
The antioxidant found in coffee does protect eyesight, but the benefits of coffee do not stop there. Previous studies have found that coffee can also decrease the risk of prostate cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other age related cognitive functions. Lee says that it is important to remember that natural foods provide health benefits, and drinking coffee can also provide many health benefits.
By Sara Petersen