Coffee And Cholesterol
What Everyone Should Know Regarding the Links Between Coffee and Cholesterol
There has been much talk lately about whether or not there is a relationship between coffee and cholesterol levels. For heavy coffee drinkers and even people that enjoy an occasional cappuccino at a coffee shop, this has caused a lot of confusion and worry. This article discusses the relationship between coffee and cholesterol and things that the average coffee drinker can do to reduce the risk of health problems related to drinking a good old cup o’ joe.
Coffee and Cholesterol: Is there a Correlation?
Whether or not there even is a link between coffee intake and cholesterol has now been confirmed. Drinking coffee, upwards of six cups a day, has been shown, in several studies, to raise LDL and total cholesterol. This does not mean, however, that you need to cut coffee completely out of your diet in order to maintain decent cholesterol levels.
How Does Coffee Actually Affect Cholesterol?
Most people mistakenly believe that it is the caffeine content in coffee that can negatively affect their cholesterol levels; this is not the case. In fact it is terpenes, types of oils, found in the coffee beans/grounds that raise your total cholesterol and LDL.
This does not mean, though, that you are wreaking havoc on your arteries with every trip to the coffee pot. Paper filters are actually quite effective at removing most of these oils before they can even have a hope of raising your cholesterol. Therefore, unless you are drinking a very excessive amount of coffee daily, you should not be concerned with the effects on your cholesterol. In fact, you are at much higher risk of heart disease and other health complications from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol to excess.
What Can I Do to Reduce the Risk?
If you are prone to high cholesterol and thrive on coffee, there are certain habits that may increase your risk. Although it is trendy at this time to drink espresso and enjoy coffee fresh from a French press, these practices should only be done once in a great while. French presses do not use paper filters, and because of this, the oils are never filtered out; you drink them right down.
While one or two cups of this is fine for the average person, a person with dangerously high cholesterol should really avoid coffee that is not filtered with paper. This includes normal coffee pots that use mesh filters and percolators. All of these can spell trouble for your heart health.
In addition to unfiltered coffee, some filtered coffee should be avoided as well. Certain specialty coffees served in Europe can also raise your cholesterol. Swedish coffee featuring “aroma holes” should be drunk sparingly if at all.
Additional Risks to Watch For
In addition to the oils from unfiltered coffee, other coffee drinking habits may also increase the risk of heart disease. Many specialty drinks served in coffee houses are much more like desserts than a simple pick-me-up beverage to enjoy with breakfast or after dinner. These extra creamy beverages pumped full of sugar, caramel, and heavy cream can be much worse for you than just a cup of unfiltered coffee.
For people that avoid the dessert-like coffee drinks, other bad habits may still be in effect. Many people enjoy a cigarette while they drink coffee; a common habit generally picked up by the parents. In this case, it’s not so much the coffee that is threatening the person’s cholesterol and heart health, but rather the chemicals in the cigarettes.
Consider speaking to your doctor about your cholesterol levels, and consider asking for smoking cessation help if you are ready to quit and need some assistance.