Is French Press Coffee Bad For You?
Before you can fully awaken to what each day brings forth, you’ve got to have your morning cup of coffee, right?
Your eyes haven’t even adjusted to the morning light shining through your kitchen window, but you execute these next familiar steps with great precision.
You’ve got your favorite mug in one hand, your favorite Lifeboost coffee in the other. Slowly you make your way to your coffee bean grinder, selecting the perfect coarse grind for your French press.
As the filtered water boils, you breathe in the aroma of the freshly ground beans. The heavenly scent awakens you, filling you with anticipation for the amazingly delicious cup to come.
You add the perfectly ground coffee to your French press, pour in the hot water on top, and give it the most gentle stir before covering.
But, while you allow your coffee to steep, awaiting the next step of carefully pressing the plunger of the French press to yield an unparalleled, rich, and tasty cup of coffee, your mind drifts and ponders:
- Does the lack of a filter in this brewing method really raise cholesterol levels?
- I’ve heard drinking unfiltered coffee can lead to heart disease, is that really so?
- Hmmm, the French press makes such an incredible tasting cup of coffee, but since there’s no filter, will the oils and chemicals in the coffee negatively affect my health?
Well, if those thoughts don’t put a damper on your french press experience, I don’t know what will!
And, since we love french press coffee as much as you do, we’ve put our research caps on and done the digging for you.
Yes, here we’ll get to the bottom of these conundrums and settle the question once and for all: is French press coffee bad for you?
French Press Coffee: The Good, The Bad, and The Delicious
There are many benefits to using a French press.
I mean, what’s simpler than a single carafe that you can easily transport, doesn’t take up much space, is easy to use, store, and clean, and did we mention it makes an incredible cup of coffee?
Even better? Most French presses are fairly inexpensive, and they don’t require the use of a paper filter!
But, it’s that last benefit that has caused some concern in the coffee community.
Coffee contains more than a thousand chemical compounds, many of which can be trapped by the use of a paper filter.
However, as many of you know, when brewing coffee with a French press, the coffee grounds steep in hot water, then as you press the French press plunger, it’s this metal plunger that separates (or filters) the ground coffee beans when you pour the coffee into your mug.
And, this metal plunger, or the use of any metal filter for that matter, doesn’t trap these chemical compounds the way a paper filter does.
The question is, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?
So, let’s take a look at the potential concerns regarding the French press and the powerful benefits:
First, since we’ve already raised your eyebrows concerning the potential detriment of drinking unfiltered coffee, let’s address the cholesterol elephant in the room right away.
Issues regarding French press coffee and cholesterol became a topic of discussion when an article published by Harvard Health garnered the interest of coffee lovers as it detailed a few of those chemical compounds in coffee that could be bad for your cholesterol levels.
The two compounds in question, Cafestol and kahweol, are potentially toxic and known for raising LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
And, when taking this information at face value, of course, this sounds troubling.
But, let’s take a deeper look here to see what’s really going on:
1- Cafestol and Kahweol can increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but how much, or at what rate? Is the increase enough to cause concern in regards to the risk of a stroke or heart attack?
When examining this concern further, we found that it would take 5-8 cups of French press coffee consumed daily to increase LDL cholesterol levels by 7 mg/dL and triglyceride levels by 11 mg/dL.
Ideally, your LDL cholesterol should be between 100-129 mg/dL, with triglyceride levels staying below 150 mg/dL.
So, truthfully, these numbers aren’t all too alarming, unless you’re already having problems keeping these levels under control.
Then, there’s also the fact that many folks simply aren’t consuming 5-8 cups of French press coffee each and every day either.
2- Your coffee selection makes all the difference when it comes to these toxicity levels.
Cafestol and kahweol are diterpenes, which are toxic compounds that can be found on/in plants, fungi, bacteria, etc.
When you choose Lifeboost coffee, you can eliminate the concern for such toxins altogether!
At Lifeboost, our main roasts are not only certified organic, but we also third party test our coffee for mycotoxins, molds, heavy metals, pesticides, and 400 other toxins to ensure you are getting the cleanest coffee beans.
And frankly, if you’re not drinking clean coffee, toxicity and the detriments posed to your health will be a concern whether your coffee is filtered or not.
But, if you are drinking clean, rich, bold, and tasty coffee made from a French press, there are a wealth of benefits you are reaping!!
Customizable Flavor - Preparing your coffee in a French press allows you to control the temperature, the grounds to water ratio, and the amount of time you allow your coffee to steep, all bringing you a less bitter and more balanced cup of coffee.
Greater Amount Of Caffeine - French press coffee contains more caffeine (depending on your coffee to water ratio and how long you allow your coffee to steep).
We often think of coffee in terms of caffeine, as it’s our preferred, and delicious, method of a “wake up call” in the mornings.
But, have we ever stopped to think of how caffeine can truly benefit our health?
One reason you feel more alert upon drinking coffee is due to caffeine’s positive effect on your brain: improving mood, memory, reaction time, and cognitive functioning.
And, concerning those cholesterol levels and their link to a greater risk of heart attack or stroke?
Consider this: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found those people 65 years of age and older who consumed high amounts of caffeine (in beverages) actually reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease and death by heart disease!
Greater caffeine consumption has also been known to lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
The greater caffeine levels combined with the higher antioxidant levels (which we’ll address in a moment) found in French press coffee also work together to protect your neurological health.
Cancer-Risk Reducing Compounds - Methylpyridinium is one of more than a thousand compounds found in coffee. And, preparing your brew in a French press allows for greater amounts of it in your mug.
Methylpyridinium is considered a highly active anticancer compound, thought to be involved in reducing the risk of colon, oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancers.
Higher Antioxidant Levels - Coffee is often boasted for its disease fighting antioxidant levels, delivering powerful help to your body by fighting free radical damage to your cells. But, receiving the most benefit here is dependent upon how you brew your coffee.
Brewing with a French press delivers a powerful dose of antioxidants to your daily cup by allowing the oils of the coffee to essentially diffuse instead of being trapped by a filter.
When brewing with a French press, specifically chlorogenic acid lactones and lipophilic antioxidants aid your body by protecting your cardiovascular system, strengthening your neuronal cells, and protecting neural synapses.
Boosts Overall Benefits Of Coffee - The French press method of brewing is considered to be the purest method of preparing coffee, allowing you to fully benefit from all this wonderful bean has to offer.
While we’ve already mentioned several of these benefits above, the following general benefits of coffee are amplified with the use of a French press:
- Improved attention
- Better ability to process information
- Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Protection against cirrhosis of the liver
- Lowered risk of depression
- Lowered risk of gout
- Boosted energy levels
Throughout this article we mentioned the good, and the potential bad, in regards to French press coffee.
Were you keeping count? If not, no worries. We’ve got the score tallied here:
Potentially Bad - Technically there was only one potentially bad thing about French press coffee, and we must highlight the word ‘potentially’ here.
While French press coffee has the potential to elevate your cholesterol levels (which is linked to both a greater risk of heart attack and stroke, making some elevated this to 3 detriments), this is a conditional situation.
If you don’t drink a large amount of French press prepared coffee each and every day, this wouldn’t be a cause of concern for you.
And, if you drink truly clean coffee, this negates the concern for you as well.
French Press Benefits - We counted a total of more than 20 benefits here (depending on how you divide up the singular benefits from enjoying greater caffeine and antioxidant levels)!
First there’s the practicality benefits:
- Easy to clean
- Easy to store
- Fairly inexpensive
- No filters to buy
- Easy to use
- Easily transportable
- Doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Ratios are adjustable for customizable flavor
Then there’s the health benefits:
- Improved mood
- Better memory
- Better reaction time
- Overall improvements in cognitive functioning
- Protects neurological health
- Reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in elderly
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Less likely to die of heart disease
- Contains compounds known for reducing the risk of multiple cancers
- Protects neural synapses
- Boosts cardiovascular health
- Fights free radical damage, protecting against disease
- Greater antioxidant content
- Amplified overall benefits of coffee as no filter is used to trap beneficial oils and compounds
Brewing with a French press can give you a richer and potentially a healthier cup of coffee.
But, there’s a fine line there between amplifying both taste and benefits and potentially causing greater harm to your health.
If you’re not drinking a pure, clean cup of coffee, using a French press could allow toxic chemical compounds to enter your cup.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about this with Lifeboost!
Lifeboost coffee beans are single origin, avoiding the cross contamination of molds.
Our coffee is grown to maturity in the mountain shade, at high altitudes, ensuring optimal nutrient quality.
Our low-acid Lifeboost coffee beans are then hand selected, spring water washed, and sun dried before being 3rd party tested for mycotoxins, molds, heavy metals, pesticides, and 400 other toxins.
With Lifeboost, you’re getting a clean bean, a clean cup, and the assurance of reaping all the wonderful benefits coffee has to offer…especially when brewing with a French press!
Check out Lifeboost Cofee Optimist Light Roast.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
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