Many recent epidemiological studies involving tens of thousands of participants reported the beneficial effects of coffee, for example, on diabetes and arteriosclerotic diseases. With a focus on the polyphenols contained in coffee called chlorogenic acids, Kao studied their health-promoting functions, discovering that chlorogenic acids had the effect of lowering blood pressure through the improvement of vascular endothelial function. At the same time, researchers also found that the positive effect of chlorogenic acid was reduced by the presence of hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ), one of the components produced in the process of roasting coffee beans.
Flavors and aroma that are characteristic of coffee are produced during the bean roasting procedure. At the same time, several other factors are generated by this process along with aroma, including an increased level of hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ), an oxidation component known to give an unpleasant flavor, while chlorogenic acids are reduced.
Kao examined a method for markedly reducing HHQ while keeping chlorogenic acids at high levels. As a result of studies of the molecular size, structure, and properties of coffee components, our researchers developed a technique using adsorptive filtration, which focuses on differences in molecular size, and demonstrated the beneficial effects of roasted coffee on blood pressure.
In other studies, we also confirmed that chlorogenic acids have a body fat-reducing effect through a fat-burning function as the action mechanism. On the basis of these findings, Kao was allowed to use Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) labeling for our products targeting individuals who are concerned about body fat secondary to blood pressure. In 2013, Kao launched the new coffee product Healthya Coffee (FOSHU labelled) with the merits of both good health function and flavor, for enhancing fat utilization as energy. Furthermore, in 2019, Kao began marketing Healthya Chlorogen-san no Chikara (Foods with Function Claims labelled) for those with relatively high blood pressure.
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