If you’ve read our article on the health benefits of antioxidants, you understand how critical these disease-fighting compounds are to your health. However, there’s a relatively unknown antioxidant-packed superfood that you should consider adding into your diet — a superfood that has been shown to be higher in antioxidants than vitamins C and E, strawberries, pomegranates, and even blueberries.
What is coffee fruit?
Coffee fruit is the red fruit that encapsulates the coffee bean, and has been proven to be incredibly high in antioxidants – notably polyphenols. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that coffee fruit can provide 30-40 times the benefit of fruits like pomegranate and acai per gram. In assessing the antioxidant levels of foods, the National Institute of Health and Aging created the ORAC score (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) which measures the ability of a food or any other substance to quench oxygen free radicals in a test tube. While fruits like acai berries only measure 102,700 μ mol TE/100g, goji berries as 3,290 μ mol TE/100g, and grape seed extract as 108,130 μ mol TE/100g, coffee fruit has been shown to measure a whopping 343,900 μ mol TE/100g.
What does it do?
Due to its incredibly high antioxidant content, coffee fruit has the ability to increase a protein in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is critical to neuronal health, and promotes the process of neurogenesis (the formation of new brain cells) as well as helping to regulate synaptic plasticity, a key factor in learning and memory. The promising cognitive benefits of coffee fruit are of significant importance, especially in a neurodegenerative disease filled world today, which boasts 5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease, 1 million from Parkinson’s and 400,000 from multiple sclerosis.
Coffee fruit’s powerfully protective effect upon the brain can be illustrated through a 2013 study aimed at predicting cognitive decline, which revealed that individuals with the highest BDNF levels had a 50% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease risk. A second study published in the British Journal of Nutrition observed a 143% increase in BDNF-blood values after a single dose (100 mg) of whole coffee fruit extract was administered, and a third performed in 2013 revealed that BDNF levels doubled in individuals taking whole coffee fruit extract when compared with those given either regular coffee or a placebo.
Aside from its cognitive benefits, coffee fruit has also been shown to enhance immune cell activity and fight inflammation as one study found that consuming coffee cherry extract increased the activity of immune cells in mice. However, perhaps one of the most astounding benefits of coffee fruit is its ability to suppress the growth as well as spread of cancer cells. One study published in the journal of Anticancer Research found that tumor growth was reduced in mice by 54% after consuming coffee cherry extract for ten days. Last but not least, because coffee fruit is rich in polyphenols, it can help improve gut health by feeding the probiotics in the gut. A healthy balance of gut flora will provide you with improved digestion, weight loss, and improved immunity.
After reading the studies performed on coffee fruit, Drew and I decided that we’d like to bring its incredible benefits to the mainland. We are currently in the process of creating an organic freeze-dried coffee fruit powder, which entails placing frozen cherry skins into a freeze dryer (as you can see our original model was blue in the featured image with Drew). We believe that the cognitive and anti-inflammatory effects of the cherry skins are unparalleled to any other product, and are excited to see how it will change the way consumers feel and function. As of now, you can consume coffee fruit through tea, supplements, and even baked goods (through using coffee fruit flour). We will keep you updated as we continue our process, and encourage you to give this super fruit a try.