Coffee can be a healthy drink. It can be even better for you if you are brewed with a paper filter.
Norwegian researchers collected health data from 508,747 men and women aged 20 to 79 and followed them over an average of 20 years. Participants also reported on the type and amount of coffee they drank – filtered through paper or brewed using unfiltered methods such as the French press or espresso.
Drinking filtered coffee was associated with a 15 percent reduction in the risk of premature death for any reason in men and women. However, the rates were lower for unfiltered coffee: men who drank unfiltered coffee had a 4 percent reduction and women had a 9 percent reduction.
Filtered coffee was less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, or stroke compared to unfiltered coffee. The lowest mortality rate was among those who drank one to four cups a day. The Study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, controlled for many other cardiovascular risk factors.
Unfiltered coffee contains much higher concentrations of cholesterol-increasing phytochemicals called diterpenes than filtered coffee, which can explain at least part of the effect.
The lead author, Aage Tverdal, a senior researcher with the Norwegian Ministry of Health, said that the effects on cardiovascular health are small but still significant compared to exercise or weight control.
“Whatever type of coffee you drink,” he said, “enjoy your coffee. If it suits you, drink filtered coffee, especially if you have high cholesterol. “