Coffee is arguably one the most consumed beverages worldwide. It's made up of more than 1000 active compounds including caffeine and a range of polyphenols. Polyphenols have significant importance as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents2. Studies have shown that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruit and vegetables8. Crazy huh!!
Epidemiological evidence suggests that polyphenols reduce the incidence of inflammation in the body6.For this reason, researchers hypothesise that coffee consumption has protective benefits for the body3.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are plant-based substances that protect your cells against oxidative stress4 6. Oxidative stress is to the human body like rust is to a car. It breaks down cells, DNA and telomeres of the body. This causes cellular degeneration, accelerated aging and a number of health-related problems.
You may have heard of tannins or flavonoids; these are the polyphenols found in coffee4.
Polyphenols are highly bioavailable and can be found in a wide range of fruits, vegetables, cocoa, wine, wholegrains, tea and coffee4.
The main source of polyphenols from the human diet is from tea and coffee3 4. Coffee beans contain a special type of polyphenol called chlorogenic acid4.
Chlorogenic acids are known to have antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits4 5.
Polyphenols in coffee and inflammation
Inflammation is a natural protective mechanism that fights illness or injury. As a part of the immune response, the body acutely increases inflammation and releases immune cells, cytokines and white blood cells to the affected area8.
However, inflammation becomes unhealthy when it becomes chronic (long lasting) as a result of injury, illness, toxicity, drugs, alcohol, diet, stress and obesity8.
When looking for inflammation in the body, inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein appear in the blood stream8.
A study of 1178 people found that regular coffee drinkers had lower levels of inflammatory markers than non-regular coffee drinkers 1.
In a similar study, regular coffee drinker experienced a 6% increase in inflammation when they abstained from coffee for 1 month 1. In comparison, participants experienced an 8-16% reduction when asked to consume coffee regularly for the same time period.
It appears that coffee consumption at any level has anti-inflammatory potential1, however one study noted that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower level of inflammation7.
However, there is a trade-off. Too many coffees may mean too much caffeine. This means too you may be overly stimulated and if consumed too late coffee may disrupt your sleep patterns.
The better option is to combine your coffee with other powerful antioxidants like turmeric, whole coffee fruit extract, alpina galanga, theobromine and medicinal mushrooms like chaga, lion's mane, reishi etc.
All studies have made mention that results are likely attributable to the protective benefits of polyphenols which makes this idea of combining coffee with other polyphenols such a great strategy.
A review of the research suggests that the polyphenols in coffee have an anti-inflammatory effect 2 3 4.
Whilst the current research is promising, it’s important to note that individual differences in genetics or other factors may influence the effect of coffee on inflammation 1. However, if you enjoy a daily brew now you have one more really great reason to sip on that morning cuppa.
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.
- Petre A. (2020). Does Coffee Help or Cause Inflammation?
- Frost-Meyer N., Logomarsino J. (2012). Impact of coffee component on inflammatory markers: a review.
- Kempf K., Herder C., Erlund I., et al. (2010). Effects of coffee consumption on subclinical inflammation and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial.
- Hermansen K. (2019). Coffee, polyphenols and cardiovascular disease.
- Tajik M., Tajik N., Mack I., Enck. (2017). The potential effects of chlorogenic acid, the main phenolic components in coffee, on health: a comprehensive review of the literature.
- Pandey K., Rixvi S. (2005). Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease.
- Lotfield E., Shiels M., Graubard B. (2015). Associations of coffee deinking with systemic immune and inflammatory markers.
- Spritzler F. (2018). Anti-inflammatory diet 101: how to reduce inflammation naturally.