The Healthiest Way to Brew a Cup of Coffee

New research sheds light on why using a filter for your coffee might make it better for you, when it comes to heart health. Here's what you should know about the latest study and how to brew your coffee.

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Coffee is the morning beverage of choice for many of us. It helps wake us up and gives us a boost to tackle our days. It's actually pretty good for you too. Coffee can help boost your mood and keep your heart and brain healthy (here's a closer look at the science behind all the health benefits of coffee).

But besides what you add to it (think cream and sugar) does how you brew your coffee impact the healthiness of it? New research says yes. A recently published study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that using a filter may make your coffee better for you. Filters help remove compounds in your coffee that may raise cholesterol.

Norwegian researchers looked at over 500,000 people and found that those who drank filtered coffee had a lower risk of premature death, compared to people who drank unfiltered coffee or no coffee. They found the best cardiovascular outcomes in people who drank between 1-4 cups of filtered coffee per day.

"Unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol. Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature death less likely," Professor Dag S. Thelle of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and study author stated in a press release.

While the research is only observational (which means there isn't cause and effect, and we can't say for sure if the filtered coffee or unfiltered coffee caused any heart disease benefits or negative health outcomes) it seems like an easy switch to make for most people, especially if they just want some caffeine. Thelle added, "For people who know they have high cholesterol levels and want to do something about it, stay away from unfiltered brew. For everyone else, drink your coffee with a clear conscience and go for filtered."

cup of coffee on orange background
getty images

What is filtered coffee?

If you've ever used a coffee filter to brew your coffee, that's filtered coffee. Classic drip coffee makers and pour over coffee makers both use filters. Espresso is brewed without a filter, as is coffee made in a French press (here are our best tips for making a cup of coffee at home).

This 8-cup Chemex coffee pour over coffee maker ($45.50 at and this ceramic pour over coffee dripper ($6.99, are two easy to use options for making filtered coffee at home.

How to keep your coffee drinks healthy

There's lots of nutrition factors in play when it comes to heart health (and genetic and lifestyle factors too). Regardless of how you brew your coffee, try to keep the added sugar and cream to a minimum (two things which aren't great for your heart). If you're into coffee shop drinks, go for smaller sizes and customize your order and ask them to use less sugar or syrup.

If you want to take good care of your heart try these top 15 foods for heart health, exercise regularly and do your best to keep stress in check (try our 30-day self care challenge).

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