Virtually everybody has wished that their guilty pleasure had some health benefit that would allow them to stop feeling guilty about it. It would be a dream come true if that indulgence were actually good for you. Well, if you like chocolate and coffee, your dream may have just come true as a recent study indicates that eating chocolate and drinking either coffee or tea may lengthen your life if you also add zinc supplements to your diet. Daily Mail reported this week that when combined in this way, a compound that slows aging is activated.
Chocolate, wine, coffee, and tea all contain polyphenols that fight cell damage. Researchers from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg found that when those polyphenols are combined with zinc, a compound is activated in them that reverses “internal stress” that’s accumulated naturally over the course of several years. That internal stress has been connected with many illnesses including cancer and Alzheimer’s. Researchers explain that activating the compound protects cells against a gas they produce as a waste product that can damage DNA and contribute to aging. That same gas is associated with the inflammation present with cancer and Alzheimer’s. The compound activated through the combination of polyphenols and zinc destroys the destructive gas.
Hot coffee has higher levels of antioxidants compared to the cold brew https://t.co/jXIIxHypgW
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 3, 2018
This process is similar to the naturally-occurring superoxide dismutase enzyme. Previous studies have re-created this natural process but involved the use of metals like copper and iron that can be dangerous in large quantities. Excessive copper can cause fever, anemia, and low blood pressure, while large amounts of iron can result in serious conditions like liver disease, heart failure, and diabetes. The most serious effects of high levels of zinc, however, are generally nausea and changes in sense of taste. Because zinc is so well tolerated at high doses, researchers hope it can be used to create a drug or supplement that can be safely used by most people. Another possibility is adding zinc to foods like tea, coffee, chocolate, and wine that already contain polyphenols naturally, with one caveat. Alcohol is believed to counteract the anti-aging effect of the combination, so any wine-zinc product would have to use alcohol-free wine.
So keep your eyes and ears open for tea, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol-free wine with zinc, and eat or drink to your heart’s content if it becomes available without feeling guilty about your indulgence. All in the name of science, of course.