Studies show that daily coffee intake can have a lot of benefits to a person's health but a new study added another benefit from it. Researchers found that a cup of coffee a day could prevent eye diseases.
The joint research of the United States and South Korea found that coffee can protect the retina which is a thin tissue layer on the internal back wall of the eyes, containing millions of nerve cells that are sensitive to light, capable of receiving and processing visual data.
The team examined a certain antioxidant from coffee called chlorogenic acid or CLA. Raw coffee contains only one percent caffeine compared to around seven to nine percent CLA. The researchers tested the effects of CLA and exposed two groups of rats to nitric oxide. The first group was pretreated with the antioxidant and the second group received no treatment.
The study showed that CLA can prevent the degeneration of the retina in rats. The retina needs high oxygen levels because it is a very metabolically active tissue. The retina could deteriorate without the right amount of oxygen which could result to glaucoma, blurry vision or in some cases even blindness. Nitric oxide causes free radicals and oxidative stress which can cause tissue damage and retinal degeneration and impaired sight.
After both groups were exposed to nitric acid, the mice which were pretreated with CLA did not develop damage to the retina. Now researchers need to further investigate the effects of CLA to prevent damage to the retina in humans. These new findings may change the components of eye medications.
According to the researchers, it is important to understand the function of natural foods to provide health benefits to humans. "Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that," study author and food science professor Chang Lee said. Other studies show that coffee can decrease the risk of prostate cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, other age-related brain diseases. Aside from the energy boost, coffee may prove to be more beneficial to humans than science already knows.