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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Can coffee protect our eyesight? -

Can coffee protect our eyesight? - 

Coffee has been associated with an array of health benefits recently. Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that coffee consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Now, new research finds that drinking the beverage may protect against deteriorating eyesight and even blindness.

Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, recently published their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

We all know the main ingredient in coffee as caffeine - the stimulant that gives us that boost. But according to the research team, including senior author Chang Y. Lee, green coffee beans (raw coffee) only contain 1% caffeine.

However, each raw coffee bean contains around 7-9% chlorogenic acid (CGA) - an antioxidant that has been associated with many health benefits, such as weight loss and reduction of blood pressure.

Past studies have also indicated that CGA may be a powerful neuroprotectant, and there has been great interest in identifying neuroprotective compounds that block hypoxia - deprivation of oxygen in areas of the body.

Cup of coffee and beans
Researchers found that coffee extract and CGA protected mice against retinal degeneration.
The retina - a thin layer at the back of the eye that is made of light-sensitive cells and other nerve cells that are responsible for receiving and organizing visual information - is prone to 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 explain.

"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 investigators were interested to see whether coffee, particularly CGA, may prevent hypoxia and overall degeneration of the retina in mice.


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