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The #1 Worst Coffee for High Cholesterol, New Study Says

Not all coffee is created equal.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

While there are plenty of different ways to enjoy coffee, those who appreciate something that's on the stronger side may prefer sipping on a cup of espresso every morning. Although that might not seem like the worst daily habit due to the fact that there are benefits to drinking coffee, it turns out that espresso may be the worst option for those who have—or want to avoid—high cholesterol.

In a recent study that was published in the Open Heart journal, researchers took a look at data from over 21,000 participants who were a mean age of 56.4 years old. After considering whether or not those involved were drinking coffee and, if so, how much, they found that participants who were drinking espresso had higher cholesterol levels.

"Guiding patients to change from plunger coffee or other unfiltered coffee types to filtered or instant coffee could be a part of a lifestyle intervention to lower serum cholesterol levels," study author Maja-Lisa Løchen, MD, PhD, of the Arctic University of Norway, told Medscape.

espresso machine making coffee
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Related: The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science

While that might leave espresso-drinkers worried and ready to switch to another brew, Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCES, of Healthful Lane Nutrition, tells Eat This, Not That! "the proportion of those that have higher cholesterol after drinking espresso is small."

Despite that, when it comes to why espresso might be linked to higher cholesterol levels, Lane explains that "espresso beverages are filtered more than french press coffee," which means that it "doesn't allow the beneficial oils of the coffee to pass into the beverage" in the way that unfiltered coffee does.

At the same time, Lane points out that "the study does not examine the antioxidant properties of espresso, which are quite high." That's why Lane says that "it is perfectly fine to have espresso beverages." Indeed, "for many, it is a great source of antioxidants, especially for those that do not have a good variety of fruits and vegetables."

If you're still interested in switching to another source of caffeine, Lane suggests French press coffee, saying that it's a "great option that allows the beneficial fats in the coffee to remain in the beverage and thus be consumed."

To find out more about how your favorite caffeinated drink is affecting your health, be sure to read What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Espresso.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more