Coffee is one of the first drinks a person opts for to reduce stress, exhaustion, and anxiety. For those feeling low and wanting to be 100 percent alert while working, coffee is a perfect antidote for lethargy.
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However, have you wondered if something as simple as adding milk to coffee can have benefits like anti-inflammation properties? A recent study at the University of Copenhagen has found that proteins and anti-oxidants in food nutrients combine to function as anti-inflammatory products. The study was conducted in laboratories, and researchers hope soon to test its health effects on humans.
When our body encounters an invading pathogen (bacteria, virus, or toxic chemicals), it activates our immune system. Our immune system releases the cells (neutrophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes) that trap and kill the pathogen. This physiological reaction is called inflammation.
The acute inflammatory response may include pain, redness, or swelling and get normal after some time. However, in some conditions, cells accidentally start attacking their own body cells and cause chronic inflammation, also called long-term inflammation, as in rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is called an auto-immune disorder.
Polyphenols: The natural antioxidants
Polyphenols are natural antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, plants, tea, coffee, red wine, beer, and humans. They are primarily used in the food industry to delay the oxidation of fats and food from getting spoilt. Thus, avoids the foul smell, rancidity, and off-flavors in packaged food.
Polyphenols are beneficial for humans as they prevent the inflammation caused due to oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is a state of imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant activity in the body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an odd number of electrons in the outermost shell. Although free radicals fight-off invader pathogens, if they exceed cause damage to proteins, DNA, and fatty tissues in the body.
Recent studies have highlighted the effect of polyphenols on other food molecules as amino acids, the building blocks of protein in food products. To investigate the reaction, researchers artificially created an inflammation scenario in human immune cells and used three different treatments. Group A received various doses of polyphenols that reacted with amino acids, Group B received the exact amounts or doses of polyphenols, and the third group received nothing and served as control.
The researchers observed that the reaction in A between polyphenols and amino acids was more effective than the group containing only polyphenols, B or no polyphenols at all, C. It shows that polyphenols react with proteins effectively to cause an anti-inflammatory result.
The Combination Of Coffee With Milk Showed Efficient Inflammatory Results
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Previous research has demonstrated that meat, beer, and dairy products bind with polyphenols and give anti-inflammatory results. For the subsequent investigation, they studied polyphenol-filled coffee beans and milk as a source of protein.
Marianne Nissen Lund from the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen stated that the reaction between protein and amino acids occurs in some coffee drinks with milk. In addition, the reaction was more vigorous than other food reactions they studied. She said this study highlighted the possibility of the same results in different food combinations, such as meat and vegetable meals with yogurt.
“Because humans do not absorb that much polyphenol, many researchers are studying how to encapsulate polyphenols in protein structures which improve their absorption in the body. This strategy has the added advantage of enhancing the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols,” Lund explained.
This study has revealed the critical role of polyphenols in our lives. The food industry and researchers have noted the significance of polyphenols in the human body. The next step is to find the right amount of polyphenols in the food products to get the best nourishment.
The research was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
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