A Coffee Trend That May be Risky for Health, From the May 2016 Harvard Health Letter

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Coffee is associated with many health benefits, but too much caffeinated coffee may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and the jitters.

French press coffee may be all the rage right now, but it comes with health risks, reports the May 2016 Harvard Health Letter.

Making pressed coffee involves mixing boiling water and coarsely ground coffee beans in a small pitcher, letting it steep for a few minutes, and then pressing a mesh plunger from the top of the pitcher to the bottom to strain the liquid and trap the coffee grounds.

Devotees say this type of coffee is more flavorful than coffee that’s filtered in an automatic drip coffeemaker. But is it healthier? “We don’t know; it’s never been studied that carefully, and it likely depends on the beans and the roasting process,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. What we do know is that too much unfiltered coffee may raise “bad” LDL cholesterol, because it contains certain harmful compounds that would otherwise be trapped by a filter.

Even filtered coffee comes with risks. Drinking too much caffeinated coffee may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and the jitters. If any of those lead to getting less sleep every night, the risk of developing chronic conditions goes up.

Fortunately for coffee lovers, the savory brew is also associated with many health benefits when intake is limited to five cups or fewer per day, such as lower blood pressure, a slower rate of weight gain with age, and reduced risks for developing type 2 diabetes or dying from cardiovascular disease or neurological diseases.

Read the full-length article: “Coffee: Love it or leave it?"

Also in the May 2016 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

  •     Hearing loss: Early warning signs that are easy to miss
  •     In search of comfortable shoes, despite foot problems
  •     The latest thinking on heartburn medications

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

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Kristen Rapoza
Harvard Health Publications
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