Does Coffee Have Antioxidants? Yes! Here’s the Scoop

Does Coffee Have Antioxidants? Yes! Here’s the Scoop

When it comes to morning rituals, few pleasures rival the first sip of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. It’s the aromatic wake-up call that kickstarts your day, a comforting companion through the bleary-eyed haze of dawn. But beyond its eye-opening caffeine jolt and invigorating aroma, this beloved elixir harbors a health-boosting secret: antioxidants.

But how exactly does coffee stack up in the antioxidant department? Is all that talk about its health-boosting properties grounded in scientific reality, or is it just another case of wishful thinking fueled by caffeine-induced enthusiasm? Join us as we sift through the literature to uncover the truth about coffee’s antioxidant power.

First Things First: What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are a diverse group of compounds that play a crucial role in protecting your body from oxidative stress. But what exactly is oxidative stress? Picture it as a battle within your body between harmful molecules called free radicals and the defenders of cellular integrity – antioxidants. 

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, potentially leading to health issues like inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.[*] They’re produced naturally during metabolic processes in the body, but can also be created by external factors like pollution, UV radiation, and unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking and poor diet.[*] 

This is where antioxidants come into play. They act as scavengers, neutralizing free radicals before they can wreak havoc on your cells.[*] Antioxidants donate electrons to stabilize free radicals, essentially disarming them and preventing further damage.

Now, you might be wondering where you can find these antioxidant superheroes. Well, they’re abundant in various foods and beverages, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and yes – you guessed it – coffee.

Does Coffee Have Antioxidants? 

Yes, coffee contains antioxidants — it’s actually one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in the human diet.[*] Each day, most people consume about 1-2 grams of antioxidants, with most coming from beverages like coffee and tea, rather than food.[*][*][*][*] This is not too surprising when you learn that one cup of coffee packs 200 to 500 mg of antioxidants, and the average American coffee drinker consumes just over three cups of coffee daily.[*]

That doesn’t necessarily mean coffee has a higher antioxidant content than certain foods, though. For example, berries, cloves, and cocoa contain more antioxidants per serving than coffee, but most people don’t eat these foods daily.[*] Many people, however, drink coffee daily, so the total amount of antioxidants provided by coffee far outweighs that of other high-antioxidant foods.

But regardless, coffee is up there in terms of overall antioxidant levels. One review of over 3,000 foods and beverages ranked coffee 11th for the most antioxidants.[*] And another study of the 100 best dietary sources of antioxidants ranked coffee higher than any other beverage.[*]

Which Antioxidants Are Found in Coffee? 

Most of coffee’s antioxidants fall into two main categories:

#1: Hydrocinnamic Acids 

Hydrocinnamic acids are abundant in coffee beans and are considered one of the primary sources of antioxidants in coffee. They’re predominantly represented by chlorogenic acids (CGAs) and play a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals. 

Studies have shown that chlorogenic acids exhibit potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.[*]

#2: Polyphenols 

Coffee contains a variety of phenolic compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, which contribute significantly to its antioxidant profile. These plant-based compounds also act as scavengers of free radicals, helping to mitigate oxidative damage and promote overall health.[*]

Research suggests that polyphenols found in coffee may play a role in preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, making them valuable additions to our diet.[*][*]

One of the most prominent antioxidants in the polyphenols family is caffeic acid. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, further enhancing its potential health benefits.[*]

Interestingly, caffeine — the compound responsible for coffee’s stimulating effects — also falls under the polyphenol umbrella. While primarily recognized for its central nervous system stimulation, caffeine also harbors antioxidant properties.[*] Although its potency may not rival that of other coffee antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acids, caffeine’s contribution to the overall antioxidant activity of your brew should not be underestimated.

Coffee Is Linked to a Reduced Risk of Many Diseases

Coffee has been linked to several health benefits, many of which may be due to its impressive content of powerful antioxidants. Various studies indicate that regular coffee consumption can lead to a reduced risk of: 

  • Heart disease: A review of studies found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily was associated with a 15% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.[*] Also, FYI, many studies and meta-analyses show that regular coffee consumption is not associated with high blood pressure.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases: In one study, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily during mid-life was associated with a 65% decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.[*] And a review of 13 studies found that people who regularly consumed caffeine had a significantly lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. What’s more, caffeine consumption was found to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease over time.[*]
  • Liver diseases: Drinking one cup of coffee daily has been linked to a 15% lower risk of death from chronic liver disease, while drinking four cups daily was linked to a 71% lower risk.[*]
  • Cancer: 59 studies across 40 cohorts showed that regular coffee drinkers had a 13% lower risk of developing various types of cancer than seldom or never drinkers.[*]  
  • Type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis involving more than 1 million people found that those who consumed up to four cups of coffee daily had a 25% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who drank little or no coffee.[*]  
  • Weight loss: Due to its stimulant effects on the central nervous system, caffeine has the potential to boost metabolism by as much as 11% and enhance fat burning by up to 13%.[*][*][*]

How Much Coffee Is Safe to Drink Daily?

Too much of anything is bad for you (even water and coffee). So, where exactly does the sweet spot lie for coffee intake? It’s likely more than you think!  

According to general guidelines, a safe caffeine intake for healthy adults is up to 400 milligrams per day.[*] That’s roughly the caffeine content found in four 8-ounce cups of coffee or two sticks of IQJOE instant coffee

However, keep in mind that individual tolerance to caffeine can vary from person to person. Factors such as age, existing medical conditions, and inherent sensitivity can all influence how caffeine affects you, so be sure to check in with your doctor and listen to your body. 

Get Your Daily Antioxidants with IQJOE

IQJOE offers a simple and delicious solution to boost your daily antioxidant intake. This instant coffee blends bold Brazilian coffee beans with brain-enhancing nutrients. Enjoy smooth, jitter-free energy from 200mg natural caffeine, while Magtein® (magnesium L-threonate) and lion’s mane mushroom extract support mental sharpness and cognitive function. 

Simply pour one packet of IQJOE into 8-12 ounces of hot water, stir until dissolved, and receive a long-lasting, crash-free energy boost!

IQJOE comes in four sugar-free flavors: Original Black, Vanilla Spice, Toasted Hazelnut, and Caffè Mocha. Not sure which flavor to choose? Try our 16-Stick Variety Pack to find your favorites!

Whether you’re starting your day or seeking a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, IQJOE provides a guilt-free way to get your antioxidants while enjoying the comforting warmth of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.


Written by Katie Koschalk, a health and wellness writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and certified personal trainer based in California.