Winter is traditionally a season of excess followed by deprivation. Not only do many of us inflict misery and suffering on ourselves in the form of New Years’ resolutions at a time when we really want to be tucked up under the duvet with a boxful of chocolates, but, just as we start to look forward to spring there’s the guilt of lent to contend with.

It seems that one of the most common things people say they are giving up at this time of year is coffee. Maybe this is just because it’s easier to do than giving up smoking or fighting the flab.

But is this wise? There is a mounting body of evidence that coffee, especially that delicious freshly brewed stuff is actually good for you. Not only has coffee consumption been found to reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes, it contains a useful array of antioxidant phenolic compounds. In fact, CAB Abstracts database contains 125 papers that have looked at the antioxidant content of coffee. Presumably these also appear in the 1034 records that a search for ‘coffee and health’ yields.

Now, researchers in Spain have managed to boost coffee’s healthy image even further. Scientists at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Madrid have estimated the fibre content of freshly brewed coffee. Elena Díaz-Rubio and Fulgencio Saura-Calixto found that samples of brewed espresso, filter coffee or soluble coffee contained between 0.47-0.75 g/110ml.

My own estimations suggest that to reach the recommended dietary intake of 20-30g per day. I would have to aim for at least 2 ½ litres a day (up to a maximum of 6.3 litres).

Someone stick the kettle on would you please? It is Monday morning after all!


Díaz-Rubio and Saura-Calixto (2007) . Dietary Fiber in Brewed Coffee. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/jf062839p

Coffee consumption and the decreased risk of diabetes mellitus type 2.
(Foreign Title: Koffieconsumptie en het risico van diabetes mellitus type 2.)
Dam, R. M. van ; 

Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde  , 2006  , 150  , 33  , 1821-1825  , 33 ref. 

Coffee is among the most commonly consumed beverages in the Netherlands. Caffeine can acutely lower insulin sensitivity, but it is not clear whether tolerance for this effect develops after long-term regular intake. Furthermore, it is plausible that the effects of coffee are different from those of caffeine. Coffee contains hundreds of substances and there are indications that certain components may partly counteract the effect of caffeine or may have independent beneficial effects. Intake of the coffee components chlorogenic acid, quinides, lignans, and trigonelline improved glucose metabolism in animal studies. Habitual coffee consumption has been studied in relation to the risk of diabetes mellitus type 2 in 12 cohort studies in Europe, the USA, and Japan. Generally, high coffee consumption was associated with a substantially lower risk of type-2 diabetes. The findings were similar for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, suggesting that the non-caffeine components of coffee may be responsible. Identification of these coffee components may lead to the development or selection of coffee types with improved effects on health.

Bioactive components of coffee and their benefits to health.
(Foreign Title: Compostos bioativos do café e seus benefícios à saúde.)
Araújo, F. A. ;  Mancini Filho, J. ; 

Higiene Alimentar  , 2006  , 20  , 143  , 60-65  , 42 ref. 
This article reviews the general aspects of the beneficial effects to health of components of coffee, including chlorogenic acids and antioxidants. The in vitro and in vivo and epidemiological studies show a correlation between antioxidant activity of coffee and a reduction of risk of chronic diseases.


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