Turkish coffee is a unique and delicious drink that’s suitable for drinking anytime and anywhere. But is it for everyone?
Cholesterol is an essential component in your body that is used to produce hormones and vitamins for healthy functioning of the body and bile acid for digestion.
Although it normally plays an essential role in our bodies, having high cholesterol can be very dangerous and cause serious health problems such as reduced blood flow, gallstones, heart attacks or even a stroke.
As a Turkish coffee lover, I’d want everyone to enjoy more of this enjoyable beverage. But if you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels you might be wondering whether it’s a good idea or not.
Due to it’s preparation method, Turkish coffee has high cafestol and kahweol levels that have been linked to increased total and LDL-cholesterol levels in blood. If you have cholesterol problems it’s best to lower your consumption of unfiltered types of coffee such as the Turkish coffee.
In order to get the full picture let’s explore more about cholesterol and what effects Turkish coffee may have on it.
In order to understand whether Turkish coffee is bad for your cholesterol levels or not, first we need to look at what cholesterol is, what it does, why it gets such a bad rep and what can raise or lower its levels in the body.
I’m not a medical expert but with some research I’ve learned a couple of important facts about cholesterol.
Although it has a bad reputation, cholesterol is an essential part of human body and it has many important functions in it. (1)
Cholesterol is produced naturally by your liver and it’s also acquired from dietary sources like meat, eggs and dairy.
Because cholesterol is a form of fat, it can’t be transported in your blood on its own or else it would get clumped up. So our bodies puts cholesterol and other fat particles together with a certain type of protein to easily move around in the blood. This combination of fats and proteins is called lipoprotein, lipo meaning fat and protein meaning… well, protein.
One type of these lipoproteins is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and it takes excess cholesterol from your cells and carries it back to your liver. Liver, then gets rid of this excess cholesterol.
The type of lipoprotein that you usually hear to be the “bad cholesterol” is low-density lipoprotein (LDL). (2) What LDL does is that it takes cholesterol stored in your liver and distributes it around your body to cells that need it.
The reason why excess LDL is bad for your body is that it can get stuck in your veins cause your heart to get less blood and therefore get less oxygen.
What increases “bad cholesterol”?
So that we’ve learned about the basics of cholesterol, you might be wondering what are some of the things that may contribute to having unhealthy levels of LDL-cholesterol.
There are many factors that increase LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and eventually cause dangerous and sometimes chronic problems. Here is the list of a few of these factors (3);
- Unhealthy diet. Eating a diet that’s high in trans fat, low quality animal products and lots of junk food can increase the risk of high LDL levels.
- Being overweight. Having excess body fat can lower HDL and increase LDL.
- Not getting enough exercise. Exercise does lots of great things for the body. It trains your cardiovascular system, helps you lose weight and makes you happy by increasing the production of serotonin. Not getting enough exercise may contribute to raising LDL levels.
- Other health problems. Using certain medicines and other diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease can increase the risk of having high cholesterol levels.
What’s good for cholesterol?
Just like there are ways to screw up your cholesterol levels, there are also ways to protect your body against the effects of “bad cholesterol” and help it produce more of the good stuff.
Eating a heart healthy diet, keeping your bodyweight in the healthy range, getting regular physical activity and managing stress can help protect against high bad cholesterol levels. (4)
Although your age, genetics and gender can play a role in cholesterol problems, having habits that support a good general health seem to be the best defence against raised LDL-cholesterol levels.
Is Turkish coffee bad for cholesterol?
Coffee beans naturally have chemical compounds called cafestol and kahweol that have been linked to increased levels of both total and LDL-cholesterol in blood.
In filtered coffee, these chemicals are present only in insignificant amounts.
But in unfiltered types of coffee where sediment is left in the cup such as Scandinavian coffee and Turkish coffee cafestol and kahweol levels are high. These chemicals are also high in Espresso and coffee made with a French press. So, it’s better to stick with filtered coffee if you’re dealing with cholesterol problems.
If you have high blood LDL levels and still want to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee, please make sure you talk to a medical professional about it first.
And never drink the sediment since it’s the part with the highest concentration of cafestol and kahweol.
Cholesterol is a vital component in your body that’s necessary for the production of hormones, fat-soluble vitamins and bile acid.
Your body binds cholesterol with protein for easier transport, creating lipoproteins such as HDL and LDL. LDL is generally regarded as “bad cholesterol” and high levels of it can cause health problems.
There are chemical compounds in coffee called cafestol and kahweol and these chemicals are linked to disrupted blood cholesterol levels. When you filter your coffee, most of the cafestol and kahweol are filtered as well.
In unfiltered types of coffee such as Scandinavian coffee and Turkish coffee, and to a lesser extent French press coffee and Espresso, cafestol and kahweol levels are high and it might be best to moderate your consumption of these coffees if you’re struggling with high cholesterol levels.
So, if you love Turkish coffee but are dealing with cholesterol issues, make sure to talk to a medical professional about it.
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