Better Use That Coffee Filter After All!

Could there be one more health problem to blame on your love of coffee? Is your coffee habit to blame for your high cholesterol?

You may be one of the millions of people in the world who starts your day with a strong cup of coffee, and you’ve been skipping the half-and-half to spare your cholesterol, If you are, think again.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine have found that the effect half-and-half may have on your LDL (bad) cholesterol is nothing when compared to the oils in the coffee.

The researchers found that cafestol, a compound found in the oils in coffee, elevates cholesterol by hijacking a receptor in an intestinal pathway that is critical to cholesterol regulation. They found cafestol to be the most potent dietary cholesterol-elevating agent known according to Dr. David Moore, professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM and co-author of the report that appeared in the July issue of the journal Molecular Endocrinology.

The study found that French press coffee, boiled Scandinavian brew and espresso contain the highest levels of the compound. Cafestol is removed from coffee made by most other brewing processes that use paper filters. Cafestol is not removed when using permanent or cloth filters.

Caffeine is often considered the villain in your daily cup of java, but the stimulant is not to blame for unfiltered coffee’s effect on cholesterol levels. Removing caffeine does not remove or affect the levels of cafestol in coffee.

Other studies by a co-author – Dr. Martijn B. Katan of Vriye Univeriteit Amsterdam, Institute for Health Sciences, The Netherlands – indicate that consuming five cups of French press coffee per day (30 milligrams of cafestol) for just four weeks raises cholesterol in the blood 6 to 8 percent.

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