Cardiologists Reveal the Heart Healthiest Way to Brew Your Coffee
Past research has shown that unfiltered coffee contains compounds that can increase blood cholesterol. Until now, however, it was unknown if choosing unfiltered coffee over filtered coffee really does contribute to heart attacks and premature deaths. Here’s the answer after decades of data collection with a new follow-up study.
To Filter or Not to Filter?
Here’s something to consider the next time you decide on how to brew your next cup of coffee: According to a recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers from the University of Gothenburg determined that how coffee is brewed, does affect how long we will live.
“Our study provides strong and convincing evidence of a link between coffee brewing methods, heart attacks and longevity,” said study author Professor Dag S. Thelle of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. “Unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol. Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature death less likely.”
This study is the result of a decades-long analysis that is based on previous research that discovered coffee filters block out more than just some loose coffee bean grounds, but also culprit substances in coffee that can raise your blood cholesterol levels. As it turns out, A cup of unfiltered coffee contains about 30 times the concentration of the lipid-raising compounds compared to that found in filtered coffee.
“We wondered whether this effect on cholesterol would result in more heart attacks and death from heart disease…so, we set up a large population study and several decades later we are reporting the results,” said Professor Thelle.
According to a press release from the European Society of Cardiology:
“Between 1985 and 2003, the study enrolled a representative sample of the Norwegian population: 508,747 healthy men and women aged 20 to 79. Participants completed a questionnaire on the amount and type of coffee consumed. Data was also collected on variables that could influence both coffee consumption and heart diseases, so that these could be accounted for in the analysis. For example, smoking, education, physical activity, height, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.”
What the researchers found was that during the study period of the 508,747 participants, 46,341 died with 12,621 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease. And from within the cardiovascular deaths, 6,202 were caused by a heart attack.
And, the Answer is…
The researchers concluded that unfiltered brew is associated with higher mortality than filtered brew; and, that filtered brew is associated with a lower mortality than those who do not drink coffee at all.
• Overall, coffee drinking is not a dangerous habit. In fact, drinking filtered coffee was safer than no coffee at all.
• Compared to no coffee, filtered brew is linked with a 15% reduced risk of death from any cause during follow up.
• For death from cardiovascular disease, filtered brew is associated with a 12% decreased risk of death in men and a 20% lowered risk of death in women compared to no coffee.
• The lowest mortality was among consumers of 1 to 4 cups of filtered coffee per day.
The press release notes that Professor Thelle emphasized that these results are based on observational data, but that if public health authorities asked for his advice it would be:
“For people who know they have high cholesterol levels and want to do something about it, stay away from unfiltered brew, including coffee made with a cafetière ( a French Press). For everyone else, drink your coffee with a clear conscience and go for filtered.”
For more about coffee and health, here are some select articles for your perusal:
Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on the connection between coffee and healthy living. For continual updates about the benefits of coffee on your health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
1. “How to make the healthiest coffee during COVID-19 lockdown” press release from the European Society of Cardiology April, 2020.
2. "Coffee consumption and mortality from cardiovascular diseases and total mortality: Does the brewing method matter?" European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2020; Aage Tverdal, Randi Selmer, Jacqueline M Cohen, Dag S Thelle.