While coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the US diet and has been known to help prevent many diseases, there are a few other factors that can give you an even greater benefit:
1. The Roast: The antioxidant effects of coffee are related to compounds called chlorogenic acids. Roasting green coffee beans turns these acids into antioxidants, but if you keep roasting them, they can break down again. So, lighter roasts tend to have higher antioxidant contents than darker ones. Also, choosing a roast that is low in acid (like Healthwise!) is easier on your digestive system, and helps lock in more of the natural vitamins and minerals of the coffee.
2. The Storage: Roasted coffee beans contain free radicals, which increase the longer beans are exposed to air. As free radical levels rise, some antioxidants in the beans are spent fighting to stabilize them, which reduces the antioxidant level that is consumed. So, store your beans in an airtight container like this one, and don’t grind them until you’re ready to brew (if using whole beans).
3. The Cup: How do you usually drink your coffee? Black coffee is extremely nutritious, but anything you add is diminishing to its benefits. Adding sugar and creamers add unwanted calories, and a new study from Croatia suggests that milk can reduce the antioxidant levels. Artificial sweeteners, while often calorie-free, can be laced with chemicals. If you’re looking for some added flavor, try sprinkling on some ground cinnamon.