Food and Nutrition

This Is the Best Way To Prepare Coffee for Your Heart Health

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Stocksy/Santi Nunez

There are so many different ways to enjoy coffee from whipped emulsions to fancy pour-overs. When it comes to your heart health, though, there’s one way cardiologists recommend preparing your coffee over other methods.

In a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers looked into the coffee-drinking habits of more than 500,000 Norwegian men and women. And they found something interesting about how coffee preparation methods may impact your health. Particularly in terms of drinking your coffee filtered or unfiltered.

Among the participants, 59 percent drank filtered coffee, 20 percent drank unfiltered coffee, 9 percent drank both types, and 12 percent didn’t drink coffee at all. And it’s clear that filtered coffee wins: “Unfiltered brew was associated with higher mortality than filtered brew, and filtered brew was associated with lower mortality than no coffee consumption,” wrote the study authors. The amount also made a difference. “Among coffee consumers, the reference group of 1 to 4 cups a day of filtered brew had the lowest mortality, and >9 cups a day of unfiltered brew had the highest mortality.”

So, what’s the deal with unfiltered coffee? The study authors wrote that it’s been found to contain high amounts of compounds called diterpenes (like cafestol and kahweol), which can raise your LDL cholesterol levels. The types of coffee you’d primarily drink unfiltered are those made with a French press where the coffee grounds steep in hot water. The good news is most of the coffee you drink is probably already filtered.

Integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil, MD, touched on the topic years ago and said filtered coffee gives you the least amount of those cholesterol-raising compounds, as most of it is left in the filter. And after speaking to a colleague, he came to the conclusion that even if your cholesterol levels are of concern, you can still have coffee. It might just be a good idea to cut back a little and save unfiltered methods for special occasions.

The benefits of coffee, explained by a dietitian:

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