4 Coffee Health Risks And How to Avoid Them

Coffee can be very good for you, but not if yours coffee preparation method is leaching toxins into your morning brew. Pay attention to coffee health risks.

Coffee beans that may pose health risks

A study from November 2015 found that some coffee machines can lead to increased levels of metals like nickel, copper, zinc, chromium, and lead in coffee.

Recently, coffee has gotten a lot of attention. Researchers seem to be continually coming up with new research showing that contrary to previous belief, coffee is actually pretty good for you. But before you go out and start drinking more of it, you should be aware of the numerous coffee health risks that can arise from bad habits and bad brewing methods.

Coffee Health Risks

1. Coffee makers can leach metals into your coffee.

A study from November 2015 found that some coffee machines can lead to increased levels of metals like nickel, copper, zinc, chromium, and lead in coffee. In particular, they found that some coffee machines, particular espresso portafilter machines, leach dangerously high levels of lead.[2]

The researchers recommend careful rinsing of the machine, especially when you decalcify your appliance.

2. Coffee makers, filters, cups, and more can be sources of BPA.

The appliances and dishware that are used to prepare and drink coffee can be risky sources of bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is considered an endocrine disrupting chemical, meaning that it interferes with normal hormone function in the body. BPAs are implicated in obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Read more about BPA health risks and other sources of BPA here.

Plastic parts, including those inside your coffee machine, in the coffee filter used for your drip coffee, or the inside of your travel mug, can all include BPA. So look for BPA-free versions of these items, and better yet, opt for stainless steel or ceramic alternatives instead. Canned coffee drinks can also be sources of BPA.[3]

3. Coffee can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure.

Researchers have also found that coffee isn’t good for young adults with hypertension.  Heavy coffee drinkers were 4.3 times more likely to experience a negative cardiovascular event like a heart attack, and they were also significantly more likely to develop prediabetes that non-coffee drinkers.[4]

4. Caffeine can interfere with sleep.

If you drink coffee too late in the day, the caffeine may keep you awake and lead to problems like insomnia. Be sure to avoid drinking coffee later in the day to avoid these detrimental effects on getting restorative sleep.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee is certainly not all bad. On the contrary, it can lead to some significant health benefits. It is high in antioxidants, which make it a health-promoting drink. In fact, a study published in the journal Circulation found that moderate coffee intake (one to five cups per day) was associated with a lower risk of mortality.[1] In particular, coffee seemed to protect against deaths from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and suicide.

To read about some of the specific health benefits of coffee, check out the following blogs:

Healthy Coffee Consumption

Research suggests that moderate coffee consumption can be part of healthy lifestyle for most people. Take these tips into consideration:

  1. If you have hypertension, avoid coffee.
  2. Drink no more than four or five cups per day.
  3. Set a time in the afternoon after which you stop drinking coffee to make sure it isn’t interfering with your sleep.
  4. The safest brewing method may be to make drip coffee, using a ceramic or stainless steel filter cup. Be wary of coffee machines, especially those lined with plastics that may contain BPA or that may leach metals. If you have an older machine, be particularly careful.

Share Your Experience with Coffee

How do you make your coffee, and how do you limit the chance of toxins leaching into your cup? Share your thoughts on healthy coffee habits in the comments section below. When you leave a comment, only your first name and last initial show.

This post originally appeared in 2015 and has been updated.

[1] Circulation. 2015 Nov 16. [Epub ahead of print]

[2] Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2015 Nov;32(11):1959-64.

[3] J Hum Lact. 2015 Aug;31(3):474-8.

[4] European Society of Cardiology Press Release. 2015 Aug 29.

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UHN Staff

University Health News is produced by the award-winning editors and authors of Belvoir Media Group’s Health & Wellness Division. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with editorial offices in Florida, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, … Read More

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