National Coffee Day snuck up on me this year. It's today, so I'm catching up quickly with a latte in hand and scrolling through the latest research on my favorite brew with the other. This last week I've immersed myself in the benefits of caffeine in the spa space for an upcoming story. At first, the two may seem like an odd couple—the main reason spa-goers set foot in your spas is to relax right? But opposites attract, and the varied effects of caffeine in products and treatments make the duo a perfect pairing. Here are the recent coffee research updates that I found most intriguing.
- In an article published in the academic journal Food Science and Technology, researchers demonstrate the powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the coffee grounds and silverskin, which are usually discarded but are highly rich in fibre and phenols. Indeed, their findings indicate that the antioxidant effects of these coffee grounds are 500 times greater than those found in vitamin C and could be employed to create functional foods with significant health benefits. processed coffee by-products could potentially be recycled as sources of new food ingredients. This would also greatly diminish the environmental impact of discarded coffee by-products.
- Researchers analyzed genetic information from people living in villages in Italy and in the Netherlands. Comparing that information, they identified a gene that appears to curb coffee consumption. People with a DNA variation in a gene called PDSS2 tend to drink fewer cups of coffee. Experts say the findings suggest that the gene reduces the ability of cells to breakdown caffeine, causing it to stay in the body for longer. This means that a person would not need to consume as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit.
- Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of Keck Medicine of USC have found that coffee consumption decreases the risk of colorectal cancer. The study examined more than 5,100 men and women who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer within the past six months, along with an additional 4,000 men and women with no history of colorectal cancer to serve as a control group. The data showed that even moderate coffee (decaf and caffeinated) consumption, between one to two servings a day, was associated with a 26 percent reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer after adjusting for known risk factors. Moreover, the risk of developing colorectal cancer continued to decrease to up to 50 percent when participants drank more than 2.5 servings of coffee each day.
- According to a new study completed at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, people who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don't drink or drink less coffee. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.
- Monash researchers, in collaboration with Italian coffee roasting company Illycaffè, conducted a comprehensive study examining how free radicals and antioxidants behave during every stage of the coffee brewing process, from intact bean to coffee brew. For the first time they discovered that under certain conditions coffee can act as an antioxidant, a compound found in foods that helps stabilize free radicals.
Did any of the research surprise you? Does your spa offer caffeinated treatments?