Types of Coffee and Their Health Benefits
Many studies have proven the health benefits of coffee, ranging from weight loss to reduced cancer risk. But you may not know that the method of brewing coffee has also been found to be important in relation to its effects on health.
It is thought that the most risky type is unfiltered ground coffee. This type of coffee contains fatty chemicals known as cafestol and kahweol, which raise levels of dangerous fats in the blood. Other types of coffee may be lower in cardiovascular risk factors but higher in caffeine, which, taken in excess, has its own problems.
- CAFETIERE (THE FRENCH PRESS)
Caffeine per cup: Approx 100mg
The unhealthy fatty factors aren’t removed by the plunger mechanism, which makes cafetiere coffee one of the riskiest type for raising cholesterol levels. The latest research shows that drinking one liter (four mugs or five cups) of cafetiere coffee daily also increases the blood concentration of a heart attack risk factor known as homocysteine. In healthy individuals, levels rise by about 10 pc within two weeks.
Health rating: **
Caffeine per cup: 100-150mg
A fine-paper filter is highly effective at absorbing fatty components, and studies involving high consumption of filter coffee show no negative effects on blood cholesterol. But this type of coffee is generally the highest in caffeine so, if you are particularly sensitive to it, you would probably be better off drinking another type.
Health rating: **** (providing it is made with a paper filter)
Caffeine per cup (single shot): Approx 80mg
This is made by forcing hot water at high pressure through the beans. It contains only relatively small concentrations of cafestol and kahweol (the substances that can raise levels of blood cholesterol) and is unlikely to have a significant effect on the heart. The amount of caffeine in a single shot of espresso is less than in cup of standard filter coffee, but if you are regularly drinking double or triple espressos it is easy to overdo it.
Health rating: ***
Caffeine per cup: Approx 65mg
Instant coffee is made by brewing coffee beans and then removing the water through freeze-drying. The soluble granules don’t contain the fatty substances found in freshly ground coffee, so there is no risk to cardiovascular health. There is also less caffeine in instant coffee. Cup for equal strength cup, it has about half the caffeine content of filter coffee.
Health rating: *****
Caffeine per cup: 80-100mg
Electric percolators work by introducing steam-driven spurts of boiling water into a perforated coffee container. The result is an extra high level of oil extraction which can have an adverse effect on the heart.
Caffeine per cup: Up to 160mg
This boiled coffee is very strong, fully extracted and completely unfiltered, so it has one of the highest concentrations of harmful cafestol and kahweol. Studies suggest that the average rise in blood cholesterol through regularly drinking four to six cups per day is around 10 pc – estimated to correspond to a 20 pc greater risk of heart disease.
Health rating: *
Caffeine per cup: Approx 80mg
A cappuccino is half espresso and half frothy steamed milk. With semi-skimmed milk, each cappuccino has only about 15 calories, but with cream and chocolate flakes, the calorie count can rise.
Health rating: ***