Coffee's Newest Possible Benefit: Healthier Retinas

Researchers found that mice treated with an antioxidant commonly found in coffee developed none of the retinal degeneration that contributes to loss of sight.

What's the Latest Development?


Food scientists at Cornell University and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology exposed test mice to a chemical that creates conditions in the body that lead to retinal damage. However, those mice that were pretreated with chlorogenic acid (CLA), an antioxidant commonly found in coffee, experienced no damage. The findings, which were published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, add to the body of studies that support coffee's role in reducing the risk of certain major diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

What's the Big Idea?

Because the retina demands high levels of oxygen, lack of it can lead to the kind of tissue damage that results in worsening eyesight or even blindness. Raw coffee contains between 7 and 9 percent CLA. Because, according to senior author Chang Y. Lee, "[c]offee is the most popular drink in the world," the team plans to research whether drinking it actually delivers the antioxidant directly into the retina. If it does, there may come a time when bags of coffee in the grocery store include promises of better eye health on their labels.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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