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New findings about effects of coffee on human health are presented in ASIC 2014

Armenia, Colombia, September 9, 2014 (FNC Press Office)– On the second day of the 25th International Conference on Coffee Science (ASIC 2014), an event led by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé), attendees had the chance to learn some of the most recent findings on the effects of coffee on human health.

Colombia and Cenicafé are seen by the international scientific community as leaders in coffee science research, technology development and transfer of knowledge for the benefit of Colombian coffee growers, which is why the country is hosting this important event for the third time.

During the first lecture of the day, a US researcher reminded attendees that caffeine has been consumed for millennia, primarily through coffee, and that its effects on health, particularly on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, cancer and reproduction, have been studied for decades; this means there exists a rich database of health evidence on the safety of caffeine for consumers at current levels of exposure.

The second lecture highlighted beneficial effects of coffee to prevent liver and colon troubles, including cancer. It references the colon due to coffee’s impacts on microbiota composition, motility and antioxidant status. It references the liver because coffee reduces fat accumulation (which can lead to cirrhosis and cancer), oxidative stress and inflammation.

It was also mentioned that the amount and type of compounds ingested in a cup of coffee may be highly different depending on the coffee variety used, roasting degree, brewing method and serving size, a learning that paved the way to design a new generation of healthy coffees and coffee-based beverages, of which some examples were given. “Coffee is a healthy beverage per se,” was one of main conclusions.

At the lecture “The Science of Coffee & Hydration: Separating Fact from Fiction,” a team of British researchers presented results of a study on coffee diuretic effects and body hydration, to conclude that coffee, when consumed in moderation, does not cause dehydration and, on the contrary, it contributes to daily fluid requirements.

Coffee and its effects on arteries

Findings from Colombian scientists included the effects of caffeine on vasodilation and antiplatelet response of arteries. Studies concluded that caffeine consumption in the usual doses has vasodilating effects both on healthy arteries and those whose relaxation is impeded by early atherosclerotic lesions (inflammation). The research team even carried out an in-vivo study in humans to quantify the vasodilating and anti-thrombotic effect of coffee consumption, finding similar results.

From Italy, a research team used the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) method to determine caffeine and paraxanthine concentrations in human saliva, as a way to measure healthy activity of the CYP1A2 enzyme, found in the human liver and involved in detoxification of carcinogens.

A Brazilian team presented results of a study on contribution of caffeine, theobromine and theophylline (chemical compounds known as methylxanthines, with a stimulating effect) by different foods such as coffee, tea, mate, cocoa and guarana. The study was conducted on a human sample, of different age groups, living in Rio de Janeiro.

Regular Coffee Consumption keeps DNA integrity

 A German team said that regular coffee consumption contributes to the maintenance of DNA integrity and is associated with further beneficial health effects.

Again from Colombia, a team presented results of a study according to which consumption of filtered coffee, for its content of chlorogenic and phenolic acids, improves plasma antioxidant capacity without affecting the lipid profile and vascular function in healthy adults.

About ASIC 2014

ASIC 2014 (www.asic2014colombia.org) is organized by the FNC and the Association for Science and Information on Coffee (ASIC). The meeting is held every two years and brings together the coffee industry, academy and specialists working in different fields of coffee science and technology, which allows them to share and compare their research.

The meeting in Armenia, held between September 8 and 12, brings together more than 400 coffee professionals from all over the world, of which 300 come from countries different from Colombia. Attendants get acquainted with global state of the art as to coffee research, technology development and innovation around coffee.

Attendance of key players in the coffee industry, coming both from consuming and producing countries, is also a unique opportunity to build or strengthen cooperation and commercial relationships between actors of the whole coffee chain.

About the FNC and Cenicafé

Created in 1927, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) gathers more than 500,000 coffee growers in Colombia. It is the largest guild in the agricultural sector in the country. Its mission is ensuring the well- being  of Colombian producers and their families, not only through provision of public goods and services, but through specific programs and strategies that help farmers climb in the chain value, with a vision of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

The National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé) was created in 1938 as the research branch of the FNC. In line with the mission and strategic objectives of the FNC, scientific research and development of new technologies carried out by Cenicafé has helped to improve the quality of life  of Colombian coffee growers, and create the conditions for the  sustainability of their industry.

 Development of varieties resistant to such diseases as leaf rust and better adapted to climate variability (including regional varieties), development of technologies for an increasingly ecological coffee post harvest wet processing (Becolsub and Ecomill®), use of such tools as Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to characterize and defend the origin of Colombian coffee, development of a modern Coffee-growing Agro-climatic Platform and management of arrangements, densities and agro-forestry for higher productivities are just some examples of Cenicafé’s work.

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