THE combination of the protein in milk and antioxidants in coffee makes immune cells twice as effective at fighting inflammation.
Whenever bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances enter the body, our immune systems react by deploying white blood cells and chemical substances to protect us.
This reaction is known as inflammation. It also occurs whenever we overload tendons and muscles and is a characteristic of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Coffee beans are filled with the antioxidant, polyphenols, naturally occurring antioxidants, important for humans.
To investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of combining polyphenols with proteins, the team from the University of Copenhagen applied artificial inflammation to immune cells.
Some of the cells received various doses of polyphenols that had reacted with an amino acid, the building block of proteins.
Other cells only received polyphenols in the same doses and a control group received nothing.
The team found that the immune cells treated with the combination of polyphenols and amino acids were twice as effective at fighting inflammation.
Senior author Andrew Williams, an associate professor from the department of veterinary and animal sciences, said: “It is interesting to have now observed the anti-inflammatory effect in cell experiments.
“And obviously, this has only made us more interested in understanding these health effects in greater detail.
“So, the next step will be to study the effects in animals.”
The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.