What makes coffee an antioxidant goldmine?
by Marci Robin, Senior Online EditorCoffee is an easy way to get an ample dose of antioxidants; but where it gets its free-radical-fighting abilities has long been the subject of debate.
"Previous studies suggested that antioxidants in coffee could be traced to caffeine or the chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans," researcher Yazheng Liu explains in a new study appearing in the journal Food Research International, "but our results clearly show that the Maillard reaction is the main source of antioxidants."
What's the Maillard reaction? Named after the late French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, it refers to the effect heat has on food.
In other words, the antioxidant power in coffee can be attributed to the roasting process.
When the researchers tested dark-roasted coffee, they discovered that, while 90% of the chlorogenic acid was depleted during roasting, that high-temperature browning was responsible for the remaining antioxidants.
But don't fret if you prefer light roasts—plenty of antioxidants are present in coffee of every kind