Two or three cups of coffee a day can lower blood cholesterol, scientists reveal

Regular consumption of filtered coffee is associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Photo: Liza Summer/Pexels

Consuming coffee daily has a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. One of the ways it works is by lowering “bad” cholesterol levels, according to scientists at McMaster University.

The researchers point out that only two to three average-sized cups of coffee per day contain enough caffeine to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. High cholesterol contributes to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.

Regular caffeine consumption is linked to reduced blood levels of the protein PCSK9which increases the liver’s ability to remove excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, explains Richard Austin, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Caffeine and its derivatives can also block the activation of a protein called SREBP2, which in turn lowers PCSK9 levels in the bloodstream.

In addition to caffeine, coffee has hundreds of biologically active compounds that can promote heart health, including polyphenols, compounds that act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Drinking coffee associated with 17% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Long-term, drinking up to three cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart diseaseaccording to a study presented at the ESC 2021 Congress and by the European Society of Cardiology.

Compared with non-coffee drinkers, light-to-moderate drinking was associated with a 12% lower risk of death from any cause, a 17% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 21% lower risk of stroke.

Daily coffee drinkers showed healthier-sized and better-functioning hearts than non-coffee-drinking study participants.

Filtering coffee is a better alternative for the heart

The Harvard School of Public Health notes that Unfiltered coffee, like French press and Turkish coffees, contains diterpenes, substances that can raise bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

A cup of unfiltered coffee contains about 30 times the concentration of lipid-raising substances compared to filtered coffee. Filter coffee (coffee prepared by dripping) and instant coffee contain almost no diterpenes.

Unfiltered coffee does not increase the risk of cardiovascular mortalityexcept in men 60 years and older, said researcher Dag S. Thelle via the European Society of Cardiology.

Using a filter removes them and makes heart attacks and early death less likely”, shares the ESC.

Studies show that the effect of death from cardiovascular disease is lower among coffee drinkers 1 to 4 cups of filtered coffee per day.

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