daily wisdom, coffee

Daily Wisdom: The Healthiest Coffee Is...

While all brews will give you a jolt before a workout, some contain more antioxidants than others.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, and health stories.



In a new study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, Korean researchers compared light, medium, and dark roast coffee beans and found that caffeine levels were virtually the same. However, roasting coffee for a longer duration had a corresponding decrease in antioxidants.

Thanks to its antioxidants, coffee lowers your risk of major diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and offers athletes a boost in performance and reduction in recovery time.

But there are two types antioxidants in coffee, says Kwang Suk Ko, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul: chemicals that structurally have their own antioxidant function, like polyphenols, and chemicals that boost the antioxidant function of your cells, like caffeine. “We found that more roasting broke or changed the polyphenols' structure,” he explains. Meanwhile, caffeine, which is stronger against heat, stayed intact even at a higher temperature and longer roasting time.

Most of the disease protection has to do with coffee’s antioxidants battling oxidative stress, so a lighter roast (which has been roasted for less time) might indeed protect your health better than a darker one, Ko says. But when it comes to athletic performance, Ko says the perks are mainly from caffeine’s stimulation of your central nervous system, so the roast level won’t matter much.


If you’re mainly looking for a jolt from your java, any brew will do. But if you want the biggest health bang for your buck, opt for a light roast to score the max amount of caffeine and polyphenols.