Coffee May Save Eyesight and 4 More Surprising Benefits
Researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, found that a raw coffee bean contains about 7-9 percent chlorogenic acid (CGA), an antioxidant that has previously been associated with weight loss and blood pressure reduction.
In a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers examined the retina, a thin layer at the back of the eyeball that contains light-sensitive cells that are responsible for receiving and organizing visual information, which is prone to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia).
"The retina is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body, consuming oxygen more rapidly than any other tissues, including the brain," the researchers said.
"Therefore, it is susceptible to a variety of diseases caused by oxidative stress, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma - all of which can lead to partial or complete blindness."
The researchers induced retinal damage in mice using a process called optic nerve crush and tested the effects of CGA and coffee extract. They found that both CGA and coffee extract reduced the death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) by preventing down-regulation of the cell surface protein Thy-1.
“This study shows that CGA and coffee extract are responsible for reduction of the RGC apoptosis induced by hypoxia and nitric oxide," the researchers said. "Therefore, coffee consumption may provide additional health benefits by preventing retinal degeneration.”
Preserving eyesight is just one of the many benefits of coffee that researchers have found in recent years.
May lower risk of diabetes
Last month, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that men and women who increased their daily coffee consumption by one cup over a four-year period had an 11 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to people who did not increase their coffee intake. Conversely, those who reduced the amount of coffee they consumed daily had a 17 percent greater risk for type 2 diabetes.