Friday, 24 April 2015 00:10

Coffee and Pumpkins

Ah yes, the time for scary goblins, ghosts and witches has arrived and what would Halloween be without pumpkins?

The pumpkin, which is native to North America, represents a significant portion of the US agricultural economy. Every year approximately 1.5 billion pounds (680,000,000 kg) are produced within the US alone.  

Nestle, the world's largest food and coffee conglomerate, produces 85% of this entire production under the brand name Libby's.

But what similarities do pumpkins have with coffee? 

Chemically, pumpkins contain a high concentration of colored compounds including beta carotene, lutein, and riboflavin, which give pumpkins their bright orange color. 

But pumpkins, or better yet pumpkin seeds, contain a similar lipid content like that of the coffee bean. Compositionally both, coffee beans and pumpkins seeds contain over 50% of the essential fatty acid - linoleic acid (LA).   

Both pumpkin seeds and coffee beans contain ~50% linoleic acid 

This large unsaturated molecule is part of the omega-6 fatty acids, which serve important roles in overall human physiology. Since humans and most animals are unable to synthesize it, LA must be regularly ingested as part of their daily diet. 

linoleic acid in coffee

Linoleic Acid (LA) - an essential omega-6 fatty acid

Physiologically LA is metabolized via a complex web of biochemical reactions with the majority going into the production of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is then transformed into a wide range of important compounds called prostaglandins which regulate everything from inflammation, pain receptors, blood clotting, to overall cardiovascular health. 

Over the years scientists have discovered that LA plays an important role in cardiovascular health and studies have suggested it can alleviate those people suffering from cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats).

So on this frightful Halloween night make sure to enjoy a cup of coffee alongside a slice of pumpkin pie - you’ll never know when you may get spooked! Boo!!

Read 9674 times Last modified on Saturday, 19 March 2016 17:23
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