How could coffee help your eyesight?
A recent Cornell University study (funded by the Korean Institute of Science and Technology) suggests that chlorogenic acid (CLA) prevents retinal degeneration. CLA is an antioxidant found in a concentration of 7 to 9 percent in raw coffee beans.
The retina is so important to sight as it captures visual information. Unless it is supplied with large amounts of oxygen, it becomes vulnerable to oxidative stress, and when free radicals are produced, the eyesight deteriorates. However it has been seen that on tests, pre-treatment with CLA meant no retinal damage.
Scientists now know that CLA is absorbed during digestion, but they also hope to see if there are faster ways of absorbing it. The next step in their study would be to determine whether coffee can deliver CLA into the retina, directly. This would allow doctors to one day prescribe exact doses of coffee, or CLA eye-drops to their patients as a prophylactic for retinal damage.
The Cornell study suggests that coffee extracts, and indeed coffee brews, can provide similar health benefits. There have been recent studies claiming that coffee could reduce the risk of death by liver cirrhosis, and even that it may be used in fighting prostate cancer.
So drink as much coffee as possible?
Well, not yet! While your commercial coffee machine may be looking even more tempting than before, you should bear in mind that further testing is required to consolidate the theory outlined in the Cornell study before using coffee in the prevention of blindness. So while this is exciting news, we are not yet at the stage where we can say that coffee will fix all (and those mentioned) ailments. But still, there is no reason to not enjoy your daily coffee as much as before!