Researchers found that espresso is more likely to raise cholesterol levels in men, while women's heart health is most negatively impacted by filtered coffee.
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Starting your morning with a cup of joe has several proven health benefits; research shows the beloved beverage can improve longevity and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. One drawback of consuming the caffeinated drink, however, is its connection to high cholesterol—a risk not all coffee lovers are susceptible to. According to a new study, your gender—as well as your chosen brewing method—may be the key to coffee's association with increased cholesterol.

The research, published in the journal Open Heart and conducted by a team from The Arctic University of Norway, is based on more than 21,083 responses from adults aged 40 and above. The participants disclosed how many cups of coffee they drink daily and shared their brew method. Then, the subjects had blood samples drawn and their height and weight measured. Additionally, participants provided researchers with information on their diet and overall health and lifestyle. They also shared their smoking, drinking, and exercise habits.

According to the results of the study, drinking espresso has the largest gender variance in cholesterol levels between men and women, while coffee made with a French press raised cholesterol levels similarly between the sexes. Those who drank three to five cups of espresso per day had higher total cholesterol—this group was primarily men—compared to non-coffee drinkers, but espresso didn't seem to have much of an impact on women. Drinking the same amount of French press coffee raised the total cholesterol in both genders.

Filtered coffee was associated with an increase in total cholesterol in women, but this brew method didn't have an impact on male participants. Instant coffee led to an increase in cholesterol in both genders—but it didn't keep rising with the number of cups consumed, like with the other brew methods mentioned. "This demonstrates how coffee contains compounds that may lead to multiple mechanisms operating simultaneously," author Professor Maja-Lisa Løchen said in a statement. "Coffee is the most frequently consumed central stimulant worldwide. Because of the high consumption of coffee, even small health effects can have considerable health consequences."

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