Drinking one cup of coffee a day reduced risks of retinal degeneration due to aging, diabetes and glaucoma, a new study finds.
There's more reason for coffee drinkers to rejoice. The findings of a new study have added yet another health benefit of drinking this brewed beverage. Cornell University researchers found that drinking one cup of coffee a day reduced retinal damage risks. It prevents deterioration of eyesight and possible blindness as a result of retinal degeneration due to various reasons including glaucoma, aging and diabetes.
The retina is known to be the most metabolically active tissue in the body. It is a thin layer of tissue present on the back wall of the eye and consists of many light-sensitive and nerve cells. It is also responsible for managing and arranging visual information to facilitate clear vision. Inadequate oxygen and the production of free radicals in the body lead to the damage of this tissue.
Raw coffee contains about 9 percent of chlorogenic acid (CLA), an antioxidant that is effective in preventing retinal degeneration. The new study was conducted on a group of mice whose eyes were subjected to nitric oxide, a gas that is known to create oxidative stress and free radicals. Researcher noted that the mice that were pre-treated with CLA experienced no retinal degeneration, even when subjected to nitric oxide.
"The study is important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects," said Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science and the study's senior author in a statement. "Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we understanding what benefit we can get from that."
The next step of the study is to determine whether coffee can assist in delivering CLA directly to the retina by making it possible for the antioxidant to cross a membrane known as the blood-retinal barrier.
A very recent study also found that drinking three or more cups of coffee reduces type 2 diabetes risks by more than 37 percent. Prior to this, researchers found that four or more cups of coffee a day can reduce liver cancer risk by up to 42 percent. Another study highlighted that consuming two or more cups of coffee could reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis by up to 66 percent. Other health benefits including protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver diseases have been linked to coffee consumption.
More than 83 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee daily. The average coffee consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups a day.
The new study was published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and funded by The Korea Institute of Science and Technology.