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Espresso Is Linked to Higher Total Cholesterol Levels | by heidi mukhtar


How you prepare your coffee may affect your cholesterol level, according to a study published in Open Heart.1

Espresso in particular is associated with higher total cholesterol levels, and the association was stronger in men than in women, the study showed.

Coffee consumption may raise cholesterol levels in part because the beverage contains the chemicals cafestol and kahweol, which have been linked to higher LDL “bad” cholesterol.2

French press or plunger coffee has higher contents of these cholesterol-raising compounds than filtered coffee does. Espresso has an intermediate amount of these compounds, but data on espresso intake and cholesterol levels is limited.

 Study: In Moderation, Coffee Won't Hurt Your Heart

The Study

To determine whether drinking espresso affects cholesterol levels, researchers in Norway evaluated data from over 20,000 people over the age of 40.

Compared to participants who did not drink espresso, those who have three to five cups of espresso every day were significantly associated with increased total cholesterol. But men saw a greater effect.

Drinking six or more cups of boiled or plunger coffee daily was linked to increased total cholesterol in both women and men. Six or more cups of filtered coffee daily were only associated with higher total cholesterol levels in women, but not in men.

 New Research Says Coffee Won't Make Heart Arrhythmias Worse

How to Drink Coffee and Support Your Cholesterol

Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, a cardiology dietitian at Entirely Nourished who was not involved in the study, told Verywell that “the key takeaway of this study is to reduce espresso consumption to zero to two cups per day to assist with lowering cholesterol levels.”

According to Routhenstein, there can be up to 30 times more of the compounds that play a role in cholesterol elevation when the coffee beans are unfiltered compared to what you’d find in a filtered brew.

She added that “caffeinated coffee is a stimulant and can increase blood pressure levels, and may cause heart palpitations such as atrial fibrillation" for some people.

While the results of the study might be concerning, you don’t necessarily have to cut out coffee entirely to support healthy cholesterol levels. Routhenstein said that the amount recommended might vary based on individual medical history.