Does Coffee Clog Your Arteries?

Although coffee is often praised for its health benefits — it’s stocked with antioxidants, it can raise energy levels and it even protects against some cancers — coffee can also be a source of unwanted cholesterol that in turn can clog your arteries. The key is to drink the right type of coffee, which fortunately is not a cup of black decaf.
How Coffee Raises Cholesterol Levels
It’s not just the heavy cream in your coffee that’s clogging your arteries. Cafestol, a fat-soluble compound that’s found in coffee, is the drink’s most effective cholesterol-raising ingredient — and one of the most potent cholesterol-raising agents around. Essentially, the compound works by activating gene FGF15; this activation makes three other genes in the liver less effective at regulating cholesterol levels. The good news is that using a paper filter removes most of the cafestol from coffee, so the risk of elevated cholesterol from drinking filtered coffee is much lower than from unfiltered varieties.
Unfiltered Coffee
If you’re concerned about your cholesterol, you might want to stay away from unfiltered coffee. That includes Turkish coffee, French press brews and Scandinavian boiled coffee. In a study published in the “American Journal of Epidemiology,” scientists found that consuming boiled, unfiltered coffee increased total cholesterol by 23 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
cholesterol levels at all.
Good News About Espresso
One exception to the no-filter rule is espresso. Even though espresso is prepared without a filter, the serving size is so small that you’ll consume only about 4 mg of cafestol per cup. Note also that decaffeinated coffee still contains cafestol and can still contribute to higher cholesterol levels.