Ditch the espresso for heart health

Heavy coffee consumption may increase heart disease risk

Latest in Health
BITTER NEWS: Heavy coffee consumption may increase your risk of heart disease.

BITTER NEWS: Heavy coffee consumption may increase your risk of heart disease.

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But instant coffee isn't too bad.

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LOVE a good, strong cuppa? It may be harming your heart.

New research from the University of South Australia found that long-term, heavy coffee consumption - six or more cups a day - can increase the amount of lipids (fats) in your blood to significantly heighten your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Importantly, this correlation is both positive and dose-dependent, meaning that the more coffee you drink, the greater the risk of CVD.

"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," said researcher Elina Hyppnen.

"Cafestol is mainly present in unfiltered brews, such as French press, Turkish and Greek coffees, but it's also in espressos, which is the base for most barista-made coffees, including lattes and cappuccinos."

But good news for those who love a humble cup of instant.

"There is no, or very little cafestol in filtered and instant coffee, so with respect to effects on lipids, those are good coffee choices," Professor Hyppnen 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."

Globally, an estimated 3 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.

"With coffee being close to the heart for many people, it's always going to be a controversial subject," Prof Hyppnen said.

"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."

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