Coffee consumption and human health – beneficial or detrimental? – Mechanisms for effects of coffee consumption on different risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus



Coffee is probably the most frequently ingested beverage worldwide. Especially Scandinavia has a high prevalence of coffee-drinkers, and they traditionally make their coffee by boiling ground coffee beans and water. Because of its consumption in most countries in the world, it is interesting, from both a public and a scientific perspective, to discuss its potential benefits or adverse aspects in relation to especially two main health problems, namely cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of boiled coffee is associated with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. This is mainly due to the two diterpenes identified in the lipid fraction of coffee grounds, cafestol and kahweol. These compounds promote increased plasma concentration of cholesterol in humans. Coffee is also a rich source of many other ingredients that may contribute to its biological activity, like heterocyclic compounds that exhibit strong antioxidant activity. Based on the literature reviewed, it is apparent that moderate daily filtered, coffee intake is not associated with any adverse effects on cardiovascular outcome. On the contrary, the data shows that coffee has a significant antioxidant activity, and may have an inverse association with the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.