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What is Chlorogenic Acid & How’s It Connected to Healthy Eating?

Are you the type of coffee drinker that can’t imagine your mornings without a daily cup of joe? Among nutritionists, coffee gets a bad rap for its high caffeine content, but there is one healthy component worth mentioning: chlorogenic acid.

Ancient civilizations have used foods that naturally contain chlorogenic acid to boost metabolism, aid digestion, and boost energy for thousands of years. Let’s learn a little about what chlorogenic acid is, where it’s found, and what it can do for you.

Photo credit: Akane700 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Akane700 via Wikimedia Commons

What is Chlorogenic Acid?

Found in many plant compounds, chlorogenic acid is a phytochemical that occurs naturally in plants. Plants produce this phytochemical during environmental changes, pest infestations, and other plant stresses. Chemical testing has shown that the concentrations of chlorogenic acid in plants is directly related to the concentration of naturally occurring caffeine.

How Does Chlorogenic Acid Benefit the Body?

Medical studies about chlorogenic acid suggest that this phytochemical may aid blood sugar and weight control, as well as being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Chlorogenic acid may also have a positive effect on how the body absorbs carbohydrates and on glucose metabolism. Other studies have suggested that chlorogenic acid promotes a healthy liver and gall bladder.

Coffee & Chlorogenic Acid

Coffee, and green coffee in particular, is a potent source of chlorogenic acid. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, one liter of coffee contains 500-800 milligrams of chlorogenic acid, which means that the average coffee drinker consumes about 0.5-1 gram of chlorogenic acid each day.

Photo credit: David Amsler via Flickr

Photo credit: David Amsler via Flickr

Green coffee is made with coffee beans that haven’t been roasted. Did you know that coffee beans are naturally green-colored before they’re roasted? Roasting coffee beans reduces the amount of chlorogenic acid contained in the beans, which is why green coffee is often considered to be a healthier choice.

Other Foods with Chlorogenic Acid

However, it’s important to remember that drinking coffee isn’t the only way to get the benefits of chlorogenic acid in your body. These are some other healthy foods that contain chlorogenic acid with none of those jittery side effects.

  • Prunes
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Tea
  • Bamboo shoots

Recipes with Chlorogenic Acid

If you don’t typically get a lot of these foods in your diet, you can even find chlorogenic acid capsules and liquid extracts produced by nutrition supplement companies. But there are also lots of easy ways to get more of in your diet. Here are two delicious and chlorogenic acid-rich recipes to make for breakfast this week.

1.) Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes*

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups blueberries, divided
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat together the buttermilk, non-fat milk, honey, eggs, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. Stir in 1 cup of berries.
  2. Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over a medium flame. Ladle the batter onto the skillet with a 1/4-cup measure. Flip the pancake when it is golden brown on the bottom and bubbles are forming on top, about 1 1/2 minutes. Cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Serve topped with more blueberries and the maple syrup.

*Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger


2.) Coffee Cake Smoothie*

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup canned pear halves in juice (no added sugar)
    (about ½ 15-oz can)
  • 3 tablespoons Navitas Naturals Mulberries
  • 1½ tablespoons smooth almond butter
  • 1½ tablespoons Navitas Naturals Lucuma Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Navitas Naturals Green Coffee Powder
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice powder
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups ice

DIRECTIONS

  • Pour the canned pear halves as well as their juice in the blender. Add all the remaining ingredients except ice, and blend until smooth. Add the ice and blend until frosty.
  • Yields about 3 1/2 cups, about 2 servings

*Recipe courtesy of Julie Morris

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