Author: Sean Wells
Here in the U.S., there aren’t too many among us who doubt the practical applications of caffeine–the primary benefit this compound offers is of course an increased sense of alertness, focus and energy. This is an advantage that is perhaps more readily apparent on a Monday morning than any other day of the week.
Apart from that immediate gain, however, studies focused much more on long-term health have also investigated caffeine, and their results indicate that it’s benefits extend beyond mere performance enhancement. Among other features related to memory and pain relief, caffeine has also been shown to display antioxidant activity.
In particular, hydroxyl radical (OH) is one of the most damaging free radicals that can occur in the human body. This particular form of free radical cannot be deactivated by an enzyme system and therefore most often is neutralized by antioxidant nutrients acquired from the diet. If left unchecked, like all free radicals the hydroxyl radical is capable of inducing damage on cell membranes and structural proteins, as well as DNA itself at the cellular level.
Studies have shown, however, that caffeine is capable of binding to and neutralizing this free radical directly, after which it is eliminated from the system. The addition of such antioxidants to the diet is thought to potentially reduce the long-term risk of many health afflictions that have been linked with long-term inflammation, including diabetes and heart disease. Perhaps not surprisingly, in the case of caffeine, these antioxidant properties appear to be more applicable to those disorders related to cognitive impairment, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
For those who are able to tolerate its effects–and of course those who are able to enjoy them–it appears that caffeine offers potential benefits beyond a simple kick-start. This common compound may offer benefits not just on a typical Monday, but for all the Mondays to come.
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