Endless research into coffee’s health benefits shows a clear paradigm shift

  • A recent study found that moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of coronavirus infection
  • Isochlorogenic acid in coffee inhibited coronavirus infection by 43% to 54%
  • Two decades ago, coffee was considered unhealthy. This study is the latest in growing body of research proving otherwise

FROM DIABETES to dementia, drinking coffee has emerged as a preventative measure for a wide range of health conditions. Its impact on reducing the risk of contracting Covid-19 is just the latest.

Recent research published in the Cell & Bioscience journal has shown that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) infection. It may even be effective against more complex variants of the virus, such as Omicron. 

One of the key biological features of coronavirus, along with many other viruses, is the existence of spike proteins that enable them to enter host cells and trigger infections.

Coffee can prevent coronavirus from entering cells by interfering with the interaction between the virus’s spike protein and the ACE2 receptor – a protein that serves as the entry point for the virus into human cells.

In fact, coffee was observed to significantly inhibit the activity of multiple proteins which are involved in the entry of coronavirus. The research ultimately suggests that coffee can block the virus from entering human sells on multiple fronts.

The study found that caffeine, chloregenic acid (CGA), and isochlorogenic acids are the notable compounds in coffee that supress the entry of SARS-CoV-2. Isochlorogenic acid A, B, and C demonstrated the potential to inhibit coronavirus infection by 43% to 54%.

Both ground and instant coffee showed inhibitory effects on coronavirus infection, and their efficacy was not influenced by additives, such as milk and sugar.

The human trial involving 64 subjects found that 1-2 cups a day can effectively prevent infection by multiple complex coronavirus variants. The research also emphasised that coffee is most effective at preventing the disease within 6 hours of consumption. To maintain this level of protection, it’s recommended to have another cup after this 6-hour window.

These findings suggest that coffee could be a dietary strategy to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, offering new guidelines for post-Covid-19 prevention.

Coffee's health benefits are extensive, research shows

Coffee’s narrative change

Considering how coffee has historically been viewed in academic fields and the public eye, these findings are remarkable.

Two decades ago, coffee was largely perceived as an unhealthy drink – often positioning caffeine as a drug, with all the harmful and dangerous connotations attached to that label.

In recent years, there’s been a notable shift in this narrative – primarily driven by a growing body of research exploring the positive effects of coffee consumption.

Numerous studies have delved into the health benefits of coffee. For example, it contains beneficial compounds such as chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and cafestol. Each has a range of positive physiological effects, such as reduced internal inflammation, improved metabolism, cardiovascular health, and liver function.

Various studies have concluded that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as protect against certain types of cancer.

The evolution of coffee’s reputation as a “healthy” beverage is an example of how scientific and cultural understandings can shift over time. This shift is not only an academic and public health matter; it has significant commercial implications, too.

With a growing body of research in this area, we’ve seen a rise in health and wellness coffee products entering the market. As research in this field continues to expand, the industry is likely to experience additional waves of product launches aiming to capitalise on the latest discoveries regarding coffee’s health benefits.

Considering this, as the health and wellness coffee segment strengthens, it could face more stringent product regulatory compliance requirements.

Currently, many brands operate within a relatively unregulated environment – making broad health claims without the need for substantial evidence. As the segment becomes more established, so too will it’s regulatory landscape.

Yet, this is unlikely to hinder the segment’s growth. On the contrary, the demand for health-focused coffee products is growing, and it’s already clear that there’s significant commercial interest in this category.

As such, more investments are likely to flow into research that will expand the scope of the segment, and companies can be expected to enter it at scale. Ultimately, the overall trajectory for this category is one of greater commercialisation.

Coffee Intelligence

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