Like most kids, I struggled with my veg. I don’t know what it is but kids just don’t seem to take to them. Fast food is probably more pleasing on the eye.
I’m experiencing the same thing myself with my 2-year-old son. Every time I put something green in front of him, he turns it away.
In some mad attempt to get me to eat my carrots, my mum used to tell me that you “never see a rabbit wearing glasses!”.
Odd comment to make since it’s obvious that rabbits can’t get an eye test at Specsavers.
For all we know, there could be fields of long-sighted rabbits running around aimlessly but they just can’t get it sorted. Poor little things.
What my mum meant was that carrots are good for your eyesight, since they are high in Vitamin A…pretty sure my mum knew that.
So by eating my carrots, I’d have great eyesight.
By using the same logic, regardless of whether there are people wearing glasses and drinking flat whites, I’m going to tell you that you won’t see a coffee drinker wearing glasses. It makes for a good title.
Coffee is one of the biggest sources of antioxidants consumed by your average Joe (sorry). In that single cup of coffee is a lot of biological goodness just waiting for you to sip you’re way through.
I’m not going to cover everything about coffee in this article but what I am going to cover is one specific antioxidant that can help you save your eyesight.
What’s Chlorogenic Acid (CGA)?
CGA is a polyphenol (antioxidant) that has many health benefits and contributes to the acidic taste in coffee.
The body metabolises CGA into the chemicals quinic acid and caffeic acid (caffeic acid preserving the polyphenol qualities of CGA), where the nutrients are then absorbed.
The levels of CGA are affected by things such as the roast, temperature and brewing methods. It’s higher in the beans' original green form and deteriorates during the roast.
Environmental levels during growth will also affect the quality and levels of CGA in the bean. Despite Robusta being farmed in harsher conditions than Arabica, it contains upto twice as much caffeine and CGA levels than Arabica.
CGA was isolated from coffee and discovered in 1932, where numerous benefits on our health were discovered, such as...
Protection of mitochondria - these are the energy powerhouses of our cells and CGA protects the mitochondrial infrastructure from stress, helping to increase energy at cellular level.
Lowers inflammation - CGA protects us from oxidative stress which reduces the risk of chronic diseases
Stabilises blood sugar - with the help of CGA, our insulin sensitivity increases which helps to curb crashes and spikes in insulin levels.
What has recently been discovered though is that our eyesight could be next in the list of benefits.
It’s no secret that our day to day lives sitting in front of the tele, computer screens, tablets, etc isn’t good for our eye health.
The blue light in these devices has shorter wavelengths compared to other variations, which means it has more energy. Blue light in itself is not bad for us but too much exposure to it can prematurely age our eyes by damaging the retina and leading to age related macular degeneration (interestingly, my 23andMe results showed I was at a slightly increased risk of this…best get drinking the coffee, then!)
It’s thought to affect the retinal layers of our eyes and as these layers get thinner and thinner, and weaker and weaker, our eyesight becomes worse...and worse.
But fear not! A recent study tested the effects of CGA on our retinal ganglion cells (RGCs).
The retina appears to be sensitive to Hypoxia - deprivation of oxygen to certain areas to the body.
What they found was that retinal damage was reduced when pretreated with CGA.
Awesome news for the serious coffee drinker!
How you can get the most CGA from your brew
Choose a lighter roast - The CGA content gets lost in the roast, sometimes losing 50% of the CGA content in medium roasts (more in darker roasts). So if you’re looking to get more CGA from your brew, then go for lighter roasts.
Choose your brewing method carefully - In terms of brewing, cold brews have been found to have higher concentrations of CGA preserved in the cup than hot brew methods but if you’re more of a hot cup drinker, then stay away from paper filters, as these remove a lot of the bitterness in the cup, which comes from the acids in coffee. French Press should be fine.
Choose robusta over arabica - Robusta is made up of around 7-10% CGA, when compared to Arabica which is around 5.5-8%.
Supplement with Green Bean Coffee Extract - GBCE is a supplement that you can easily get your hands on, if you took a trip into Holland and Barrett (or any supplement company online).
Try and get some CGA in your life to protect those eyes.
In a bit.