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Cake might not be the healthiest choice for those of us looking to slim our waistlines or battle back diabetes and blood pressure problems.
But let’s face it…
Sometimes you just have to enjoy life.
But what if there was a way to bake a cake with superfood benefits?
That’s the promise of a study from researchers at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia who say to add flavonoid power to cake, just mix in kitchen waste.
The secret’s in the antioxidants
According to scientists, it’s simple to boost the nutritional value of baked goods and even extend their shelf life simply by adding in used coffee grounds or tea leaves.
They say it’s a great way to grab more flavonoids in your diet.
These are compounds that have been shown to possess potential anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.
In fact, in studies, flavonoids have been found to help:
- Slow brain aging by boosting its blood supply
- Lower blood pressure by increasing gut bacterial diversity
- Reduce the risk of artery calcification to improve heart health
- Reduce weight gain the more you eat
- Beat cataracts by reducing blood sugar levels in the eyes
And that’s just a small sampling of what science says flavonoids can do for your health.
While fruits and vegetables are rich sources of these powerful compounds, coffee and tea come with a flavonoid punch too.
And since they’re also the most popular beverages worldwide, with countless people drinking them daily, yet 90 percent of their grounds and leaves end up in the landfill post-extraction — scientists have been working to find a way to put them to better use.
Have your cake and eat it too
The research was built on previous studies, including a 2020 one that packed gluten-free cookies with coffee and 2023 work that loaded cupcakes with green tea.
For the most recent work, the scientists first delved into whether spent tea or coffee retains its antioxidants after being boiled and ground, and whether that material can be recycled to improve a cake’s nutrition or shelf life.
The team found that even after soaking black tea and Arabic coffee in boiling distilled water for 10 minutes, the dried grounds and leaves still retained a substantial amount of their phenolic compounds, including those flavonoids!
The study showed that post-extraction, the tea maintained a whopping 73 percent of a phenol called theaflavin trigallate, a potent antioxidant found to help in the battle against high cholesterol, obesity and heart disease.
That’s not all… used coffee grounds sport close to 64 percent of an antioxidant called 1-caffeoylquinic acid. This acid is not only known to be highly antioxidant, but also anti-inflammatory. It’s even been shown to have potent anti-influenza effects.
The researchers say that even after going into the oven, the baked goods maintained their high-level nutrition. They also held higher concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium compared to cakes that didn’t contain tea or coffee.
As a bonus, after two weeks of storage, cakes made with coffee or tea also showed less microbial growth than the control cakes. It’s a phenomenon, the researchers say could be due to the inhibitory effect of certain antioxidants on the growth of bacteria.
So when you brew up your morning cup of coffee or tea, put those leftovers to the side rather than in the trash. They could turn your next cake into a nutritional powerhouse.
Don’t forget about these other recipe switches to make your cake even healthier!
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