The hydroxycinnamic acids are a group of phytonutrients (plant based chemical compounds that have numerous health benefits in the human body but are not classed as essential nutrients). The 4 main hydroxycinnamic acids are:
– Caffeic Acid.
– Chlorogenic Acid.
– Ferulic Acid.
They are mainly found in coffee but can also be sourced from other plant based foods. But what do they do for your body? In this article I will be answering that question and looking at 13 of the amazing hydroxycinnamic acid benefits:
1) ACTING AS ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES:- When you experience infection, injury, irritation or stress your body responds with inflammation. The symptoms of inflammation include heat, pain, redness and swelling. Although it is unpleasant, inflammation is generally a good thing as it shows your body is dealing with a threat and trying to fix any damage. However, in certain circumstances inflammation is triggered unnecessarily and causes damage to your body’s cells. The good news is that caffeic acid is a powerful anti-inflammatory (a substance that reduces unnecessary inflammation in the body). Provisional research suggests that coumarin may also act as an anti-inflammatory but more studies are required before this can be confirmed.
2) ACTING AS ANTIOXIDANTS:- Antioxidants are substances that protect your body’s cells from free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous substances that are released into your body’s cells during oxygen related reactions. Studies have shown that they can increase your risk of contracting cancer, increase your risk of contracting diabetes, weaken your immune system and accelerate the ageing process. Fortunately, both caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid are potent antioxidants that can help you avoid the nasty effects of free radicals.
3) ACTING AS AN ANTISEPTIC:- If you want to reduce your chances of contracting diseases coumarin could help. Early evidence indicates that it may be an antiseptic (a substance that prevents the growth of disease causing microorganisms).
4) HEALTHY BLOOD:- Your blood is vital for good health. It carries oxygen to the areas of the body that need it, helps fight infection and more. The good news is that chlorogenic acid can keep your blood healthy by preventing atherosclerosis (a condition where hard plaques form in the artery walls and restrict the flow of blood which ultimately increases your heart disease risk) and reducing blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol which causes blockages in the arteries and increases your heart disease risk). Early studies suggest that coumarin may also boost your blood health by acting as an anticoagulant (a substance that stops the blood from clotting), protecting the capillaries from damage and reducing high blood pressure. In addition to this, ferulic acid may reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol. However, further evidence is needed before the effects coumarin and ferulic acid have on the blood can be confirmed.
5) HEALTHY BONES:- If you want strong, healthy bones the hydroxycinnamic acids could be your answer. Early research suggests that coumarin may be effective at preventing osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density) whilst ferulic acid may prevent bone degeneration. However, further studies are required before these bone boosting properties can be confirmed.
6) HEALTHY HEART:- Your heart is an essential organ that pumps blood around the body and assists in the removal of waste materials. Fortunately, chlorogenic acid can help keep your heart healthy by clearing any blockages in the arteries and ensuring that it always has a regular supply of blood. Provisional studies indicate that coumarin may also boost your heart health by preventing arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats) but more evidence is needed before this can be confirmed.
7) PREVENTING CANCER:- Cancer is a seriously unpleasant disease that develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells gets disrupted. This leads to rapid, uncontrollable cellular growth which ultimately develops into a tumour. If this tumour becomes cancerous it can then spread to other areas of the body and damage the cells around it. The good news is that the hydroxycinnamic acids can help keep you safe from this nasty disorder. Both caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid have serious cancer fighting properties. Early evidence suggests that coumarin and ferulic acid may also be able to protect against cancer but more research is required before their cancer fighting benefits can be confirmed.
8) PREVENTING THE HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV):- HIV is a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (a disease which is often abbreviated to AIDS that ultimately destroys the immune system). Currently there is no cure for HIV but provisional studies suggests coumarin may be able to prevent this virus from replicating. However, the current research is in the very early stages and much more evidence is needed before the effect of coumarin on HIV can be confirmed.
9) PREVENTING ULTRAVIOLET (UV) DAMAGE:- UV rays are invisible rays of energy from the sun. Long term exposure to UV rays can burn your skin and in the worst cases cause skin cancer. Fortunately, early evidence indicates that ferulic acid may be able to protect the skin cells from UV damage although further evidence is required before this can be fully confirmed.
10) REDUCING BODY FAT:- If you are trying to reduce your body fat % then you may want to consider adding chlorogenic acid to your diet. Studies have shown that this hydroxycinnamic acid can reduce your body fat levels and help you lose weight by forcing your cells to use body fat for energy.
11) RELIEVING PAIN:- If you are suffering from pain coumarin could be a good natural solution for you. Provisional studies have shown that this hydroxycinnamic may be an analgesic (a substance that relieves pain) although more research is needed before these effects can be confirmed.
12) TREATING ASTHMA:- Asthma is a very unpleasant respiratory disorder which causes your airways to narrow temporarily and leads to breathing difficulties. The good news is that early research indicates coumarin may be able to treat asthma. However, more studies are needed before this can be confirmed.
13) TREATING DIABETES:- Diabetes is a disease that develops when either your body’s cells stop responding to insulin (a hormone that allows your cells to take glucose from the blood) or your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. It results in your blood glucose levels becoming extremely high and if left untreated it can cause serious damage to your body’s cells. Fortunately, both caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid can treat diabetes by increasing the production of insulin, reducing blood glucose levels and slowing the release of glucose into the blood after eating a meal. Provisional studies suggest that ferulic acid may also treat diabetes but further evidence is required before these effects can be confirmed.
HYDROXYCINNAMIC BENEFITS SUMMARY
The hydroxycinnamic acids have a number of impressive health benefits in the human body and can keep it safe from many diseases and disorders. So if you want to take advantage of all these benefits make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables and enjoy 1 or 2 cups of coffee each day.