According to nutrition expert Eric Rimm of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, pressed coffee can negatively affect one’s health if drunk too much. Pressed coffee is made by mixing ground coffee beans with boiled water in a special beaker made of glass, and in some cases metal and plastic, called a French Press. After the coffee is grinded and dropped in the press, a mesh plunger is used to strain the liquid and trap the coffee grounds. Since a French Press doesn’t have any coffee filter, some of the grounds can wind up in a person’s cup. These grounds contain oil substances called diterpenes which can pose a health risk.
“Five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee may actually raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol,” said Rimm, Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard Chan School. LDL cholesterol collects in the walls of the heart vessels, thus increasing chances for a sudden heart attack from a blood clot which forms there. LDL is a microscopic blob that is made up of an outer rim of lipoprotein which surrounds a cholesterol center. Its full name is “low-density lipoprotein.”
The Darker Side Of Coffee
Coffee which has been prepared without any filter paper poses risks of heart attacks and high cholesterol. However, even coffee prepared with filter papers can cause health risks.
The main constituent of coffee is caffeine. In some people, high caffeine intake which comes to more than 300mg can lead to insomnia, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, sweating, restlessness and even jitters. Coffee consumed late in the afternoon is most likely to cause insomnia and interfere with sleep patterns. Therefore, if individuals rely heavily on coffee to make them more alert, their sleep cycles can get messed up in the long run which could even lead to other chronic conditions.
Hypertension from consuming too much coffee can lead to the possibility of a stroke and make a person more agitated, further leading to sleep complications. These health risk can be minimized by reducing the amount of coffee consumed each day, which is a task easier said than done.
Dr Rimm advises connoisseurs of unfiltered, pressed coffee to keep their cholesterol levels under check so that their LDL levels don’t rise uncontrollably. If you are fond of consuming pressed coffee, you should limit yourself to four cups a day. You should also limit the intake of filtered coffee to no more than five cups a day. It should also be noted that more than coffee itself, greater health risks come from the bits we add into it, such as sugar, cream, syrups and so on. These tend to add unsaturated fats and empty calories which can increase risk of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and obesity. Hence one must be wary of the stuff that is added in a cup o’ joe.
Even if coffee isn’t a part of your daily morning routine, there is very little to worry about since there are plenty of other effective ways to get a jolt of energy to kick start your mornings. Light exercise such as running in the morning, drinking plenty of water and splashing your face with cold water is a proven method of waking yourself up. To maintain the same level of energy throughout the day, you should do a couple of stretches and consume fruits and vegetables in the afternoon to prevent drowsiness.
Not All Coffee Is Bad
Coffee has a lot of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and niacin which are vital for maintaining cellular functions and bodily functions such as cell growth, cell absorption and for promoting a healthy immune system. Caffeine is proven to improve alertness, focus and reduce stress and fatigue. Coffee contains antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and polyphenols that prevent cell damage and reduce risk of cancer. Different antioxidant compounds found in coffee appear to show different effects in the body, but there is a need for further research on the bioactive and potential health-giving roles of these compounds before conclusions can be drawn.
Dr. Rimm and his colleagues believe the combination of those ingredients may decrease the rate at which blood sugar is absorbed by the body, help cells absorb essential nutrients from the blood, boost digestion and metabolism, and help blood vessels contract and relax. Those actions, they believe, account for coffee’s association with lower blood pressure, a slower rate of weight gain with age, and reduced risks for developing type 2 diabetes and even dying from cardiovascular or neurological diseases.
“Where we clearly see the greatest benefit is in the realm of diabetes and obesity,” says Dr. Rimm. He believes that the health benefits of filtered coffee are properly made use of when one to five cups are consumed per day, and for many health conditions, it doesn’t matter much if the coffee has caffeine or is decaffeinated.