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Saturday, December 20, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 9/4/2005

Coffee as health food

Science has spoken, and the verdict is to please keep passing the java. Not only does coffee help give people that much-needed jump-start so many of us desperately need, but our beloved dark beverage evidently has health benefits, too. The latest research shows about two cups a day provide the body with more cancer-fighting antioxidants than any other food.

Coffee lovers owe University of Scranton chemistry professor Joe Vinson for one more reason to keep drinking coffee. Coffee, he told the American Chemical Society s annual convention in Washington, has more antioxidants than vegetables, fruit, and grains, hands down.

Coffee wins the antioxidant race, he said. Nothing else we eat or drink comes close.

The Pennsylvania professor made that finding almost by accident, when he decided to throw coffee into research analyzing the antioxidant content in tea, cocoa, and about 100 other foods. (We can t imagine why coffee wasn t toward the top of the list in the first place.)

The difference is dramatic. About a couple of cups of coffee a day gives the average adult around 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants, more than four times the amount in tea. And as for fruit and vegetables, bananas give you a mere 76 milligrams; corn, a paltry 48. Now that s not to say you should try to substitute coffee for fruit and vegetables. That would be a really bad idea.

So is drinking too much coffee, because too much of it can give some folks the jitters, make them irritable, and raise their cholesterol levels. Yet the chemist s news is bound to make every coffee house in the country happy, and as an added bonus, Mr. Vinson reports that coffee and its antioxidants have positive affects on enzymes and genes.

So take your coffee like everything else in moderation. But take it.



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