A team from UiT-The Arctic University of Norway says that men are at greater risk if they drink espresso. Meanwhile, women are more likely to suffer from drinking too many filter coffees. The naturally occurring chemicals in coffee have been found to raise blood cholesterol levels, depending on how people brew the beans.
Elevated cholesterol levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world. However, little is known about the impact of drinking espressos, where a small amount of near boiling water is forced under pressure through finely ground coffee beans.
Now, scientists have discovered that it all depends on the gender of the drinker and how he prepares the coffee.
“Interestingly, coffee contains over a thousand diverse phytochemicals,” says lead author Professor Maja-Lisa Løchen in a statement to SWNS. “The intake of each compound also depends on the variety of coffee species, degree of roasting, type of preparation and portion size.”
Various brewing methods lead to higher cholesterol levels
The study authors analyzed survey data from 21,083 people, collected between 2015 and 2016, as part of a long-term population study in Tromsø. Participants were asked how many daily cups of coffee they drank, ranging from none to six or more.
They were also asked what type of beverage they preferred, with a choice of filter, coffee maker or espresso from a coffee machine, capsules, mocha pots or instant. The researchers then took blood samples from each participant and also measured their height and weight.
The team also considered other relevant health information, such as whether they smoked, drank alcohol, and how often they exercised. Overall, women drank an average of four cups of coffee a day, while men drank five cups.
The results show that drinking three to five cups of espresso daily “significantly” increased cholesterol levels, particularly among men. Consuming six or more cups of French coffee raised cholesterol levels in both sexes. The same amount of filtered coffee raised cholesterol among women but not among men. Instant coffee also had a different impact on men’s and women’s cholesterol, raising it, but not at the same rate.
Does cup size matter?
The researchers note that their study did not use a standard coffee size, adding that Norwegians tend to drink from larger espresso cups than Italians. Different types of machines or capsules can also contain varying levels of key naturally occurring chemicals.
“This demonstrates how coffee contains compounds that can lead to multiple mechanisms operating simultaneously,” says Prof. Løchen. “Coffee is the most consumed central stimulant in the world. Due to high coffee consumption, even small health effects can have considerable health consequences.”
The results are published in the open access journal Open heart🇧🇷
South West News Service writer Tom Campbell contributed to this report.