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Brewing Up Better Heart Health

Want a healthier way to get your caffeine fix? Scientists suggest filtering your brew.

Unfiltered coffee and health

People who consumed filtered coffee from drip makers were 15% less likely to die over a 20-year period than those who consumed unfiltered coffee, notes an observational study of more than 508,000 Norwegians. The research appeared in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

What gives? The thinking is that unfiltered coffee—like espresso and French press—still contains some of the cholesterol-raising compounds (like cafestol) found in coffee beans, whereas filtered coffee has much lower levels of those compounds, leading to better protection against fatal heart disease. Interestingly, drinking 1–4 cups of filtered brew was found to reduce the risk of heart disease by 12% and 20% in men and women, respectively, compared with drinking no coffee. Sipping unfiltered coffee was not shown to raise death risk compared with abstaining from the drink, suggesting that it’s not an inherently risky activity for survival.

While these results advance the idea that filtered coffee could be the best brew of all, other factors—like overall diet habits and physical exercise—likely play a much larger role in cholesterol and longevity than whether you enjoy a daily Americano.

See also: Moderate Coffee Intake = Lower Mortality Risk for Certain Conditions


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Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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