Could consuming coffee grounds have health benefits?
“People around the world drink millions of cups of coffee every day, generating about 20 million tons of used grounds annually,” said María Paz-de Peña, a researcher on the study, in a news release. “Although some spent coffee grounds find commercial use as farm fertilizer, most end up in trash destined for landfills.”
Some dietitians see potential health value from consuming the grounds.
“Brewing coffee increases the amount of antioxidants,” says Melodi Peters, registered dietitian at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “The antioxidants have been shown to help prevent or slow cell damage, which can decrease the risk of certain types of cancers, including liver, breast, colon and rectal.”
To help better analyze their findings, researchers tested three different coffee-making methods to find out the level of antioxidants in the coffee extracts. They found that filter, plunger and espresso-type coffeemakers left more antioxidants in coffee grounds, while mocha coffeemakers left the least.
“Because filter and espresso coffeemakers are more common in homes and commercial kitchens, most grounds are likely to be a good source of antioxidants and other useful substances,” Paz-de Peña said.
Researchers believe that this could open opportunities for making the leftover grounds into an antioxidant pill.
“Antioxidant supplements can be helpful in moderation but can be harmful in excessive amounts,” says Peters. “Try eating superfoods rich in antioxidants like purple, red and blue grapes, as well as blueberries and red berries, to name a few.”
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