Scientists reveal healthiest way to make coffee

Caroline Allen
Contributor
There is a healthy way to make coffee. (Getty Images)

There’s nothing better than a morning coffee, or so we thought.

A healthier version of our morning coffee – with no impact on taste, of course – sounds great, and now, thanks to scientists, that is a possibility.

Researchers looked at how a coffee should brewed in order to decrease the risk of heart attacks and death.

They concluded that filtered coffee is the healthiest for us.

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The research, published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found that unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol.

“Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature death less likely.” study author Professor Dag S Thelle of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, said.

Thirty years ago, Prof Thelle discovered that drinking coffee was linked with raised total cholesterol and the “bad” low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol.

As a result of his research, he believes that the level of “bad” cholesterol in coffee could have “detrimental consequences for heart health”.

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“We wondered whether this effect on cholesterol would result in more heart attacks and death from heart disease. But it was unethical to do a trial randomising people to drink coffee or not. So we set up a large population study and several decades later we are reporting the results,” ProfThelle explained.

The study looked at the 508,747 healthy men and women aged 20 to 79 and asked participants to fill in a questionnaire indicating the type of coffee they consumed.

Smoking, education, physical activity, height, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol were also taken into consideration to limit outside factors.

The people were “followed” for an average of 20 years, in which time 46,341 people died – 12,621 due to cardiovascular diseases.

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Overall, coffee drinking wasn’t seen as a dangerous habit. In fact, drinking filtered coffee was seen as a healthier option than drinking no coffee at all.

Drinking filtered coffee was associated with a 15% reduced risk of death from any cause in comparison to drinking none at all.

“The finding that those drinking the filtered beverage did a little better than those not drinking coffee at all could not be explained by any other variable such as age, gender, or lifestyle habits. So we think this observation is true,” Prof Thelle said.

He noted that unfiltered coffee did not raise the risk of death compared to abstaining from coffee – except in men aged 60 and above, where unfiltered brew was linked with elevated cardiovascular mortality.

Although the data is only “observational”, Prof Thelle has advice for anybody who is unsure about the type of coffee they should drink based on their cardiovascular health.

“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. For everyone else, drink your coffee with a clear conscience and go for filtered.”