Study shows coffee brewing methods are linked to heart health

6 May 2020

Norwegian researchers published a new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that demonstrated an association between drinking filtered coffee and a 12% lower risk of heart disease in men and a 20% lower risk in women. Drinking filtered coffee was shown to reduce the risk of mortality more than drinking no coffee at all. Drinking unfiltered coffee raised the risk of coronary heart disease.

Overall, the lowest mortality rate was found for those drinking one to four cups of filtered coffee per day. Consuming five to eight filtered cups daily corresponded to a 7% increase in heart health risks and 9+ cups of filtered coffee a day carried a 9% increase in risk for both men and women.

Study shows coffee brewing methods are linked to heart health
Image via Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The study was conducted with data collected from 509,000 Norwegian men and women aged 20-79 from 1985 to 2003. In the study, 59% of participants indicated they preferred filtered brew while 20% preferred unfiltered. Only 12% did not drink coffee.

In the paper, researchers hypothesized the lower mortality associated with filtered coffee as compared with no coffee arises from coffee being rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols, which inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol. The LDL cholesterol, which is often known as “bad” cholesterol, contributes to heart disease because it contains diterpenes kahweol and cafestol, which raise lipid content in the body. In unfiltered coffee, the concentrations of these components are 30 times higher than in filtered coffee.

Researchers were unable to say if their findings were applicable to other populations in the world. However, they said, “It is reasonable to assume that the cholesterol raising effect of unfiltered coffee is generalizable.”

Other studies have shown similar results. Research published in 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine linked drinking two to three cups of coffee daily with an 18% lower risk of death, with emphasis put on the reduction in heart disease. In 2018, a study by U.S. cancer researchers echoed those findings and claimed that drinking up to eight cups per day does not increase the risk of death. Even more recently, in 2019, researchers from the Queen Mary University of London presented findings that consuming up to 25 cups of coffee daily may not be as harmful to heart health as people once imagined.

These findings are good news for consumers who look to an old fashioned cup of drip coffee to jolt their day into motion, which is 64% of Americans, according to a survey from the U.S. National Coffee Association cited by Reuters. It is also good news for coffee purveyors who are looking to capitalize on the increase in coffee’s popularity. Coffee consumption has ballooned to a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6% between 2020 and 2025, up from a CAGR of 3.1% between 2018 through 2020, according to Statista research.

With millions of cups of Jo being consumed daily, the news that coffee may indeed be good for one’s health will be welcome information for a population that is increasingly fond of the pick-me-up brew.

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