Are you drinking more coffee than usual during the COVID-19 lockdown? Navigating weeks of working from home or onsite, and caring for your family during this time certainly requires an extra dose of caffeine. For those concerned about the health implications of increased coffee consumption, a study was published this week examining coffee brewing methods and heart health.
The study was published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology. According to an article from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the researchers concluded that filtered coffee is the safest brewing method relative to risks of heart attack and death. In an article from ESC, study author Professor Dag S. Thelle from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden said, “unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol. Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature heath less likely.” According to the article, filtering coffee removes 30 times the concentration of lipid-raising substances found in an unfiltered cup of coffee.
As Professor Thelle states in the ESC article, conducting a study asking people to drink filtered or unfiltered coffee would be unethical. To assess the impacts of coffee on cholesterol, heart attack risk, and death from heart disease, the team used a large population study that spanned an average of 20 years and included more than 500,000 participants representative of the Norwegian population. Study participants completed questionnaires about the type and amount of coffee they consumed. Additionally, they reported variables that might impact heart diseases and coffee consumption, including education, exercise, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
According to the conclusion of the study, “unfiltered brew was associated with higher mortality than filtered brew, and filtered brew was associated with lower mortality than no coffee consumption.” The ESC article states filtered coffee was linked to a 15% reduced risk of death from any risk when compared to drinking no coffee at all. When considering cardiovascular disease, filtered coffee showed a 12% decreased risk of death in men and a 20% lowered risk of death in women when compared to no coffee consumption. Those who consumed one to four cups of filtered coffee per day showed the lowest mortality rates.
The research team and ESC article caution that this study is based only on observational data. However, Professor Thelle is confident that the observed benefit of drinking coffee versus not is valid. He states, “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.”