Grounds for health

Coffee byproducts have more antioxidant power than vitamin C, according to new research.

Not only is coffee the sunshine that lures millions out of bed in the morning and the source of a growing list of health benefits, but even its byproducts are helpful. In fact, some research suggests they can be more helpful than some vitamins.

The byproducts of coffee manufacturing are packed with antioxidants five times as powerful as vitamin C, according to research published in the journal Food Science and Technology and noted on

Most of the world’s coffee grounds and coffee silverskin, the epidermis of the coffee bean, end up in landfills or as compost. Each year, the industry produces 2 million tons of coffee byproducts, according to the University of Granada. A research team there worked to find out if any of the components of these byproducts could be recycled for nutritional purposes.

They found that powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of compounds in the byproducts, packed with fiber and phenols, could be used to create functional foods with significant health benefits, according to a release about the research from the university.

“They also contain high levels of melanoidins, which are produced during the roasting process and give coffee its brown color,” lead researcher Jose Angel Rufian Henares said in the release. "The biological properties of these melanoidins could be harnessed for a range of practical applications, such as preventing harmful pathogens from growing in food products.”

The researchers conclude that processed coffee by-products could potentially be recycled as sources of new food ingredients.

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