Australian Natural Bodz - - Nutrition Knowledge Centre -

Large amounts of cof­fee are not good for the heart and blood ves­sels, but drink­ing just a cou­ple of cups a day re­duces the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease. Epi­demi­ol­o­gists have known this for a few years. But how mod­er­ate cof­fee in­take pro­tects the heart was not known, un­til now. How this works is ex­plained in a Swiss study pub­lished re­cently in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion. In that study the re­searchers gave ten test sub­jects a cup of cof­fee early in the morn­ing and then took blood sam­ples. The Finns then ex­posed the ‘bad choles­terol’ LDL in the sam­ples to cop­per ions. Th­ese ox­i­dize LDL, which is bad for the blood ves­sels. The re­searchers ob­served that, after drink­ing cof­fee, the LDL in the test sub­jects was pro­tected against ox­i­da­tion. At least, it took longer for the LDL to be ox­i­dized. Im­me­di­ately after drink­ing the cof­fee noth­ing hap­pens - but the LDL in a sam­ple taken half an hour after drink­ing cof­fee ox­i­dizes more slowly. And the LDL in a sam­ple taken an hour after in­take ox­i­dizes even more slowly. When the re­searchers an­a­lyzed the LDL they saw why. After drink­ing the cof­fee, phe­nols in the cof­fee like fer­ulic acid and the re­lated chloro­genic acid em­bed­ded them­selves in the LDL. Th­ese com­pounds pre­vent the LDL from be­ing ox­i­dized. And it’s not only the phe­nols that are in­cor­po­rated into LDL. “In­cor­po­ra­tion into LDL was al­ready shown for only a few other phe­no­lic com­pounds”, the re­searchers write. They are re­fer­ring to “quercetin and cat­e­chin, daidzein and genis­tein, rutin and quercetin, and ty­rosol.” Th­ese sub­stances are found in green tea, soya and olive oil. By the way, the re­search was fi­nanced – you guessed it – by the food in­dus­try. In this case by in­sti­tutes with sci­en­tific sound­ing names funded by the sec­tor, such as the In­sti­tute for Sci­en­tific In­for­ma­tion on Cof­fee and the Phys­i­o­log­i­cal Ef­fects of Cof­fee Com­mit­tee. Sources: Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):604-9.

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