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Coffee & Health
Cardiovascular health

Potential mechanisms

Factors such as polyphenols and the effect of coffee drinking on circulating cholesterol may be important

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Cardiovascular health
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Effects of coffee consumption


Research has suggested that coffee consumption may be associated with an increased antioxidant capacity of plasma and has also suggested a potential role for polyphenols, although a challenge is separating out the effect of caffeine which itself has notable biological activity49,50

In relation to cholesterol, the diterpenes in coffee, cafestol and, possibly, kahweol are responsible for raising levels, whilst the type of coffee brew being a big factor. For instance, consuming substantial amounts of Scandinavian boiled coffee, Cafetière (plunger pot), Greek and Turkish is associated with raised serum cholesterol levels. The effects on the cholesterol level are transient after the cessation of consumption27,50,51.

  • A 2021 review suggested that whilst boiled coffee was associated with raised total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, no similar effect was observed for filtered coffee. They concluded that their review does not enable them to suggest that an anti-inflammatory effect of coffee is a major contributing factor in the lower all-cause mortality reported in observational studies52


Genetic studies have identified a number of different biologic mechanisms may drive levels of caffeine consumption and its impact,although more research is needed

  • A 2019 study investigated the contribution of gene polymorphisms together with regular caffeine intake to blood pressure, and the speed of calculation tests involving addition and multiplication procedures. The results suggested that overall caffeine intake independently increased blood pressure and calculation speed irrespective of any gene polymorphisms53
  • However, two studies in 2018 and 2019, found a neutral or beneficial effect of coffee on hypertension23,24

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