Pouring milk into your coffee may have health benefits we didn't know about

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It's no secret that coffee brings joy to people around the world. It warms the soul, provides enhanced focus and brings people together, not to mention it has a beautiful aroma and heavenly taste, writes "Science alert" (Science alert).

Science has shown that just the smell of coffee can make us feel awake, and luckily for coffee lovers, there are health benefits as well. Coffee is a source of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, and drinking it before exercise has fat-burning benefits.

Now a new study suggests that adding a little protein-rich milk can boost the health benefits of your cup of coffee.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, examined how antioxidants called polyphenols interact with amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and found that combining them had twice the effect of fighting cellular inflammation than polyphenols alone.

Polyphenols can be found in many foods, including coffee and tea, fruits and vegetables, red wine and beer. Like other antioxidants, past studies suggest that some polyphenols can prevent and slow the oxidation of healthy chemicals and protect our bodies from disease.

They are thought to do this in part by controlling inflammation, a complex immune response that involves cells called macrophages that release several inflammatory mediators. Inflammation helps protect against infection, but if not properly controlled, it can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Caffeic acid (CA) and chlorogenic acid (CGA) are polyphenols that are well known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, but the authors wanted to find out if the reactions these polyphenols have with other chemicals could further affect immune regulation.

Adducts are products that are created when two or more molecules come together. In this case, the amino acid cysteine ​​(Cys) – found in dairy products – was combined with the polyphenols CA and CGA – found in coffee – to make the adducts CA-Cys and CGA-Cys.

To support this research, the authors successfully demonstrated in another new study that polyphenols bind to proteins in the coffee milk beverage.

"Our result shows that the reaction between polyphenols and proteins also occurs in some of the milk coffee drinks we studied. In fact, the reaction occurs so quickly that it has been difficult to avoid in any food we have studied so far," says food scientist and co-author of both studies, Marianne Nissen Lund.

"Interestingly, we have now observed the anti-inflammatory effect in cell experiments. And obviously, this only made us understand these health effects in more detail. So the next step will be to study the effects in animals," says immunologist and senior author Andrew Williams.

Further research is needed to find out why and what these results mean in practice for human health. This study only examined how one type of immune mediator responds to coffee-like chemicals in a laboratory setting.

"Our results can be used as an important reference in the application of adducts formed from phenolic compounds and amino acids in future functional foods or medicinal products aimed at modulating metabolic, neurological or immune-related diseases," the researchers conclude in their paper. .

The research was published in "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).

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