Coffee beans are the seeds of the “cherries” that grown on coffee trees. Thick with waxy, dark green leaves and capable of growing to 30 feet in height, coffee trees need one year of growth before coffee beans can be cultivated from mature cherries. All coffee beans that are harvested from coffee trees retain the same chemical and nutritional qualities until they are roasted. It is this roasting, as well as the temperature level, used during the roasting process that determines whether a coffee is a “dark” roast coffee or a “light” roast coffee.
Dark Roast Coffee
Dark coffee has been roasted longer on higher temperatures than light coffee. French roast coffee is considered one of the darkest coffees because the bean is allowed to roast long enough to turn it black. Additionally, a thick layer of bean oil is allowed to soak the outer shell of the bean.
Nutritionists studying the beneficial health effects of darker coffees discovered that when subjected to longer roasting at higher temperatures, coffee beans will contain more
N-methylpyridinium, a chemical that inhibits acid production in the stomach. In addition, N-methylpyridinium may be an effective anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic in regards to a particularly lethal form of colon cancer.
Because N-methylpyridinium appears to be stimulated by the roasting process, people drinking lighter, less roasted coffees might experience acid indigestion or other stomach irritation more than people who drink darker roasted coffees.
Even More Benefits of Drinking Darker Roasted Coffee
Much research in the past decade on the benefits of drinking two to four cups of coffee each day has revealed that the antioxidants provided by drinking coffee may:
– Reduce the risk of suffering type 2 diabetes
– Reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
– Encourage natural weight loss
– Protect against stroke and cardiovascular disease
Antioxidants are highly effective at combating the damage caused by reactive oxygen species, which are oxygen-rich molecules that react negatively to a cell’s normal metabolism. ROS are thought to represent one of the more significant reasons why the body begins to deteriorate as we age. Cells damaged by ROS are suffer oxidative stress, a process of degradation that seems to increase dramatically when the body is exposed to extreme temperatures, radiation, synthetic chemicals and atmospheric pollution.
Because ROS is strongly implemented in the development of Alzheimer’s and diabetes, drinking darker coffee may prove to be a powerful preventative concerning these two debilitating diseases.
Dark Coffee, Vitamin E and Glutathione
More research results identifying the health benefits of darker coffee has been published by the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Journal, which asserts that dark roast coffee replenishes blood levels of glutathione and vitamin E, something that light roast coffee does not do.
Glutathione is a valuable antioxidant that neutralizes reactive oxygen compounds and regulates the nitric oxide cycle, something that is essential for the continuance of life. Glutathione also plays vital roles in the repair and synthesis of DNA, transportation of amino acids throughout the body and maintaining healthy functioning of the immune system.
Exhibiting similar, antioxidant properties of glutathione, Vitamin E is required for optimal functioning of the nervous system. Insufficient amounts of vitamin E may encourage development of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), anemia and eye disorders.
Grab a Cup of French Roast
So remember the next time you get a cup of coffee from a vending machine or coffee shop, order the French or Italian roast to receive the many health benefits of darker coffee.