Wize Monkey has been leading the global charge in discovering what the coffee leaf can do, not only as a complex and delicious culinary ingredient for beverages and food, but also as a source of antioxidants and other powerful health compounds.
With the support of the National Research Council, Wize Monkey teamed up with the UBC Faculty of Food Sciences to dig further into the leaf and see what's really inside it that makes Ethiopians and Indonesians claim that it's more nutritious than the coffee bean.
The results are now published in Food Chemistry Journal Vol 249, available here for free on Science Direct. Here's a quote from David Kitts, the Associate Dean of the UBC Food Sciences Faculty:
“Our research showed that using processing methods commonly used for tea, for coffee leaves, produced unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that we associated with known mixtures of phytochemicals specific to the coffee leaf. Both immune-stimulation and immune-suppression capacities observed.”
To give us a general analysis of the study, we contacted Jordan Bruce, a registered holistic nutritionist and blood analyst based right here in Vancouver. She has come on board as a guest blogger to show us what's up with the coffee leaf's unique phytochemical makeup.
BY JORDAN BRUCE
As someone who eats gluten-free, plant-based and mostly free of refined sugar, I am very conscious about what I put in my body. I’m often asked for advice on healing foods and nutrient-dense ingredients.
In the last few years I’ve started to recommend coffee leaf tea for those that could benefit from cutting back on caffeine but still love the routine of a hot drink in the morning and an energy boost.
What is coffee leaf tea? It’s exactly what it sounds like, made from Arabica coffee plant leaves but substantially lower in caffeine than coffee or black tea.
One of the biggest nutritional components of coffee leaf tea is its high levels of mangiferin, an active compound commonly found in mangos. This phytochemical has been studied for cardiovascular benefits, anti-inflammatory compounds and protective aspects for heart disease and cancer.
One of the best things about coffee leaf tea is the nitric oxide you’re giving your body. Not familiar with nitric oxide? Let me give you a crash course.
Nitrogen and oxygen are gases that make up the majority of our atmosphere that are essential to our survival. These two gases can combine to form an oxide of nitrogen known as nitric oxide.
Over the last few decades, nitric oxide has been of interest to scientists because of its discovered role in the cardiovascular and nervous system.
To put it very simply, nitric oxide works with an enzyme and the amino acid L-Arginine to complete a number of jobs within our body including relaxing and widening blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. Some people feel that it can even enhance their physical performance because of increased oxygen flow to the brain and muscles.
Over the last two years consulting with clients, I’ve seen many people struggling with high blood pressure. When plaque is building up in one’s arteries, known as atherosclerosis, the body’s capacity to produce nitric oxide is reduced.
It’s important to note that some diseases—diabetes and chronic kidney disease for example—cause a reduction in nitric oxide in people resulting in poor circulation, decreased nerve function or increased risk for cardiovascular events. Nitric oxide also helps reduce the formation of blood clots.
Nitric oxide also plays a part in fighting the development of diseases and the control of infectious diseases, tumours and autoimmune disorders. This is all fantastic news for those looking for a healthy drink to sip on regularly but it gets better.
A study was conducted this year at the University of British Columbia on the benefits of young and mature coffee leaf tea. They also compared the processing methods (which is black tea versus green tea) and steep time. Scientists were trying to determine how these factors affected the impacts on antioxidants, anti-inflammatory activity and total polyphenol content (TPC). The results showed that the longer coffee leaf tea steeped, the greater the potential to reduce inflammation.
So keep steeping that coffee leaf tea to fight inflammation!
The research paper stated that beverages, such as coffee leaf tea, can potentially alleviate high blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study also shows coffee leaf tea can also aid in protecting us from microbial invasions which supports our immune system.
I’m currently a fan of Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Teas and and am loving their iced tea with fresh fruit and sparkling water right now.