Scientists from the UiT The Arctic University of Norway found that drinking espresso coffee could affect cholesterol levels in men and women differently.
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans. Coffee is a caffeinated beverage. Upon brewing, it is a dark, often black beverage, but brown if cream or milk is added.
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that has been shown to increase energy levels and decrease fatigue by altering levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
Plain coffee also contains a small number of micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
Previous research has found that coffee raises cholesterol levels because of its chemical compounds and the effect varies by brewing method.
Coffee raises serum cholesterol because of its diterpenes, cafestol, and kahweol. The brewing method is the most important factor affecting the diterpene content.
Boiled and plunger coffee contain higher contents of cafestol and kahweol than, for example, filtered coffee.
Espresso coffee has an intermediate cafestol and kahweol content, but less is known about its contribution to increased serum cholesterol levels.
In the current study, researchers aimed to see coffee’s impact on cholesterol. They focused on how various brewing methods, in particular espresso, were linked to total cholesterol levels in the body.
Total cholesterol is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
The team used population data from the seventh survey of the Tromsø Study in Northern Norway, which involved 21 083 people aged 40 years and older.
They found that drinking 3–5 cups of espresso daily was strongly linked to increased total cholesterol in the body compared with people drinking 0 cups of espresso per day.
Drinking more than 6 cups of boiled/plunger coffee daily was also linked to increased total cholesterol compared with participants drinking 0 cups of boiled/plunger coffee.
In addition, drinking more than 6 cups of filtered coffee daily was linked to higher total cholesterol levels for women but not for men.
The team also found that drinking instant coffee had a strong trend but showed no significant association. All coffee types except boiled/plunger coffee showed different effects on men and women.
The team concludes that drinking espresso coffee is linked to increased total cholesterol with a much stronger effect for men compared with women.
Boiled/plunger coffee is linked to increased total cholesterol in both men and women. Filtered coffee is linked to a small increase in total cholesterol levels in women.
Researchers say that the current study has a big impact on clinical practice because coffee is the most frequently consumed central stimulant worldwide.
Because of the high consumption of coffee, even small health effects can have considerable health consequences.
A better understanding of espresso coffee’s effect on cholesterol can improve the recommendations regarding coffee drinking.
The research is published in Open Heart and was conducted by Åsne Lirhus Svatun et al.
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