No need to ditch your morning habit: Studies have proven coffee’s health benefits, ranging from reduced cancer risk to improved athletic endurance. But you may want to be selective about how you brew it.
Research has shown that “boiled coffee,” such as French press coffee, can significantly increase cholesterol levels (8 percent in men and 10 percent in women). That oily sheen on unfiltered coffee contains up to 80 times more coffee-specific fatty acids, one of which—cafestol—stimulates LDL (bad) cholesterol, says Rob van Dam, PhD, assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. Because most cafestol gets left behind in coffee filters, people with high cholesterol levels should choose drip coffee.
Prone to heartburn? Consider cold brewing. This method retains and concentrates coffee’s volatile flavor elements as well as the caffeine, but may cut out up to 85 percent of its oils and acids, making a smoother, nonirritating brew. Cold brewing is easy—you just need to do it ahead of time.