Chlorogenic Acid: The Coffee Ingredient That May Save Eyesight
Article at a Glance:
- Coffee is packed with beneficial compounds that improve your performance. Chlorogenic acid, one of the major components of coffee, is particularly good for you.
- Chlorogenic acid protects your mitochondria, lowers inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar, and provides seasonal allergy relief.
- Recent research shows that chlorogenic acid may protect your eyes, too. Chlorogenic acid prevents retinal damage, one of the leading causes of vision loss.
- Read below to find out how to brew your coffee for the most antioxidants possible.
If you want to do one simple thing to improve your performance, drink coffee.Coffee is packed with compounds that have biological effects on humans, and researchers keep discovering new reasons to drink the world’s favorite morning brew. In this article, I’m going to focus on one of the secret compounds in coffee: chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a powerful polyphenol (a type of brain-boosting antioxidant) that does a few surprising things for you, like making your eyes stronger.
Let’s take a look at chlorogenic acid in coffee and how it can make you a stronger person.
What is chlorogenic acid
Chlorogenic acid is one of the major reasons I choose to drink coffee. You may have heard people say that low-acid coffee is better for you. The opposite is actually true: the acids in coffee are amazing for you, for a variety of reasons. Chlorogenic acid is the main acid in coffee — it makes up about three to five percent of your morning cup.
Benefits of chlorogenic acid
Researchers first isolated chlorogenic acid from coffee in 1932, and since then they’ve discovered several benefits of chlorogenic acid. These include:
- More energy. Chlorogenic protects your mitochondria (the power plants of your cells) from stress, which helps them produce more cellular energy. Chlorogenic acid is also unusually bioavailable — it’s easy for your body to absorb and use.
- Lower inflammation. Chlorogenic acid is a strong anti-inflammatory and protects you from oxidative stress damage.
- Stable blood sugar. Chlorogenic acid increases insulin sensitivity, which makes your body better at processing carbs without a crash.
- Seasonal allergy relief. Chlorogenic acid decreases sensitivity to common plant allergens in people who get seasonal allergies.
More recently, researchers have found another cool benefit to chlorogenic acid: it’s good for your eyes.
Chlorogenic acid may save your eyesight
If you work at a computer, your eyes are under more strain than you might think. Blue light (the spectrum in most electronics) is a major driver of vision loss. Specifically, blue light dissolves the outer layer of your retina and as the layer gets thinner, you lose more and more eyesight.
A recent study found that chlorogenic acid protects retinal cells from stress, decreasing the amount of cell death and keeping the retinal layers more intact. The authors concluded that chlorogenic acid in coffee may prevent retinal degeneration.
This is one of the reasons I drink decaf coffee into the afternoon and evening. If you work at a screen or under fluorescent lighting, getting chlorogenic acid every few hours could protect your retina from damage and save your eyesight. I also take a chlorogenic acid supplement on particularly screen-heavy days.
How to get the most chlorogenic acid from your coffee
The amount of chlorogenic acid in your morning cup of coffee depends on the type of coffee you choose, and how you brew it. Here’s how to maximize the chlorogenic acid you get from your coffee.
- Avoid low-acid coffee. Some companies claim that coffee acids are damaging, and low-acid coffee is better for you. These companies often cite a single 1964 study, showing that rabbits injected with coffee acids had an allergic reaction. More recent research has found that that only happens when you inject concentrated acid; drinking coffee is fine, and actually good for you. If you choose low-acid coffee, you’re actually missing out on some of the best performance enhancers coffee contains.
- Choose a lighter roast. The roasting process breaks chlorogenic acid down into quinic acid and caffeic acid. They’re both strong antioxidants in their own right, but if you want the vision-protecting benefits of chlorogenic acid, you’re best off choosing a light or medium coffee roast. Less roasting time means more chlorogenic acid.
- No paper filters. Paper filters make coffee taste smoother and reduce bitterness. That’s because the paper removes a lot of the good stuff in coffee, including chlorogenic acid and the anti-aging compounds kahweol and cafestol. They all taste bitter, but they’re worth drinking.
Coffee is packed with all kinds of precious bioactive compounds. It’s one of the best ways to make your body and brain stronger. If coffee isn’t a part of your daily routine, it may be time to add it (there’s always decaf if you’re sensitive to caffeine). And if you’re new around here: makes your coffee do even more for you. It enhances focus, curbs your hunger, helps you burn fat, and more. Give it a try; you’ll feel the difference.