There has been a new development in the age-old debate over whether or not the humble cup of coffee is good for your heart.
According to research, the type of coffee you consume may affect your heart more than others, depending on your gender.
The extent to which coffee raises cholesterol depends on how it is brewed and whether you are biologically a man or a woman, according to the findings of the researchers.
The study found that consuming espressos – a strong, black coffee made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans – causes a greater increase in cholesterol levels in men than in women.
Women who consume filter coffee, which is prepared by passing water through a paper or mesh filter containing ground coffee, may have higher cholestrol levels.
The study, which was conducted in Norway with the participation of over 20,000 people, concluded that cafetière coffee – or plunger coffee – is the only brewing method that does not cause “significant sex differences” in cholesterol.
Coffee’s naturally occuring diterpenes, cafestol, and kahweol are known to raise the body’s cholesterol level. Cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance found in most body tissues, is an essential component of cell membranes; however, an elevated level of low-density lipoprotein in the blood, which transports cholesterol to the other tissues, can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
High levels of cholesterol can lead to the formation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, which can impede blood flow through the arteries. Occasionally, these deposits can rupture suddenly and form a clot, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
The study found that espressos increase men’s cholesterol levels significantly more than women’s.
The study, published in the journal Open Heart and conducted by a team of researchers led by the UiT Arctic University of Norway, analysed blood samples from 21,083 Tromso, Norway residents over the age of 40.
The team examined the effects of espresso, cafetière, filtered, and instant coffee brewing methods. Each participant was required to respond to a survey regarding their coffee consumption, including the number of cups of coffee they consumed daily and the brewing method they prefered. Blood samples were then collected for analysis, along with the height and weight of the participants.
In comparison to those who did not consume three to five espressos daily, those who did were significantly more likely to have elevated blood cholesterol levels. Men who consumed three to five espressos saw a 0.16mmol/L increase in cholesterol, whereas women saw a 0.09mmol/L increase, nearly 50 percent less.
On average, individuals with a cholesterol level below five millimoles per litre (mmol/L) of blood are considered to have a healthy level of fat in their blood.
The study found that drinking six or more cups of filtered coffee did not increase the cholesterol levels of male participants, but did increase cholesterol levels in women by 0.11mmol/L. The researchers observed that as coffee passes through a filter, the majority of cholesterol-raising chemicals are eliminated.