Why you should choose the medium roast (hint: it’s good for you)

Why you should choose the medium roast (hint: it’s good for you)

Probably too dark to be healthy (Image: Nate Steiner)

Good news for over-caffeinated java junkies: a new study out of UBC has found that roasting coffee beans helps create stable antioxidants, the latest fad compound believed to help protect human cells from damage and premature aging. The research provides long-sought answers as to why roasting produces creates such potent antioxidants, and even suggests which roasts are best for a maximum dose. After the jump, four interesting things we learned from the study.

1. Green is good too
Unroasted coffee beans do contain natural antioxidants called chlorogenic acids—believed to have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Unfortunately, about 90 per cent of these acids are destroyed during the roasting process.

2. Apply the heat
The upside is that roasting creates even more potent antioxidants called maillard reaction products (MRPs), which are responsible for changing the colour and flavour of food that is roasted, toasted or fried. MRPs are responsible for the colour and taste of delicious fried onions and are practically an obsession with hardcore steak eaters.

3. Why colour matters
Roasting beans helps stabilize the amount of antioxidants in coffee, meaning the MRPs created by roasting degrade slower than naturally occurring antioxidants.

4. Scale it back
Medium roasts may actually be better for you than dark roasts, since MRPs created by the roasting process break down with excessive exposure at high heat. This means dark roasts contain the lowest levels of chlorogenic acids and lower levels of MRPs.

• Coffee beans could keep cells healthy, says study [Vancouver Sun]