Although many people are obsessed with coffee and can’t let the adrenaline surge, and get drunk with their favorite version-black, espresso or latte, a new study shows that too much coffee may be harmful to your heart health.
In a first genetic study in the world, researchers at the Australian Precision Health Center of the University of South Australia found that long-term consumption of large amounts of coffee (six or more cups of coffee per day) can increase the amount of lipids (fats) in food. Your blood greatly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Importantly, this correlation is both positive and dose-dependent, which means that the more coffee you drink, the greater the risk of CVD. This is a bitter medicine, especially for coffee lovers, but according to UniSA researcher Professor Elina Hypponen, if we want to keep our heart healthy, we must swallow this medicine.
“There’s certainly a lot of scientific debate about the pros and cons of coffee, but while it may seem like we’re going over old ground, it’s essential to fully understand how one of the world’s most widely consumed drinks can impact our health,” Professor Hypponen said.
“In this study we looked at genetic and phenotypic associations between coffee intake and plasma lipid profiles – the cholesterols and fats in your blood – finding causal evidence that habitual coffee consumption contributes to an adverse lipid profile which can increase your risk of heart disease,” Professor Hypponen added.
Professor Hypponen further pointed out: “High levels of blood lipids are a known risk factor for heart disease, and interestingly, as coffee beans contain a very potent cholesterol-elevating compound (cafestol), it was valuable to examine them together.”
Cafestol is mainly found in unfiltered beer, such as French media, Turkish and Greek coffee, but also in espresso, which is mostly coffee made by baristas (including lattes and cappuccinos Coffee). There is almost no coffee phenols in filtered instant coffee, so considering the effect on lipids, these are good coffee choices.
Professor Hypponen said: “The implications of this study are potentially broad-reaching. In my opinion it is especially important for people with high cholesterol or who are worried about getting heart disease to carefully choose what type of coffee they drink”.
Professor Hypponen added: “Importantly, the coffee-lipid association is dose-dependent – the more you drink unfiltered coffee the more it raises your blood lipids, putting you at greater risk of heart disease.”
Globally, it is estimated that 3 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. Cardiovascular disease is the world’s largest cause of death, and it is estimated that 17.9 million people are killed every year. The study used triangulation from phenotypic and genetic methods to comprehensively analyze data from 362,571 British Biobank participants between the ages of 37-73.
Professor Hypponen said that although the health effects of coffee are inconclusive, it is always wise to choose filtered coffee as much as possible and avoid excessive indulgence, especially when it comes to stimulants such as coffee.
Professor Hypponen said: “With coffee being close to the heart for many people, it’s always going to be a controversial subject”.
“Our research shows, excess coffee is clearly not good for cardiovascular health, which certainly has implications for those already at risk. Of course, unless we know otherwise, the well-worn adage usually fares well – everything in moderation – when it comes to health, this is generally good advice,” Professor Hypponen concluded.