Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Coffee Is No. 1 Source of Antioxidants

Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than any other food or beverage
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Medical News

Aug. 28, 2005 -- Your morning cup of coffee may provide more than just a caffeine jolt -- it could be your most valuable source of disease-fighting antioxidants.

A new study shows coffee is the No. 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet.

"Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close," says researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton, in a news release.

Antioxidants are found naturally in many foods and beverages and are thought to provide health benefits in preventing diseases such as heart disease and cancer by fighting cellular damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals are damaging substances that are produced through normal bodily processes.

Coffee Provides More Antioxidants Than Fruit?

Fruits and vegetables are hailed as the richest sources of antioxidants, but this study shows that coffee is the main source from which most Americans get their antioxidants.

Vinson says high antioxidant levels in foods and beverages don't always translate into high antioxidant levels in the body. He says the potential health benefits of antioxidants depend largely on how they are absorbed and used by the body, and that's a process that is still poorly understood by researchers.

Researchers calculated the top sources of antioxidants based on the average U.S. per capita consumption of 100 food and beverages containing the compounds.

The results showed that based on both antioxidant content per serving size and frequency of consumption, coffee came out on top, topping other popular sources of antioxidants, such as tea, chocolate, and fruit.

Where Americans Get Their Antioxidants

After coffee, the study showed the other top 10 sources of antioxidants in the American diet were:

  • Black tea
  • Bananas
  • Dried beans
  • Corn
  • Red wine
  • Beer (lager style)
  • Apples
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

Researchers say both caffeinated and decaf versions of coffee appear to provide similar amounts of antioxidants. But they say these results shouldn't be interpreted as an excuse to increase your daily java dose for your health's sake.

For example, Vinson says antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables offer much more in terms of total nutrition due to their higher content of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. He says dates, cranberries, and red grapes contain the highest concentration of antioxidants per serving size of all fruits, but Americans don't consume nearly as much of these fruits as they do coffee.

The study, which was primarily funded by the American Cocoa Research Institute, was presented this week at the American Chemical Society Meeting in Washington.

Today on WebMD

feet on scale
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Hot cup of coffee
woman shopping fresh produce
butter curl on knife
eating out healthy
Smiling woman, red hair
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens