Which Is Healthier For You: Iced Coffee Or Hot Coffee?

If you're a coffee drinker, you're a member of a very popular club. Worldwide, over 400 billion cups of coffee are enjoyed annually. In the U.S., 107 million people drink about 3.5 cups daily, per HowStuffWorks. If you drink coffee every day, you'll experience various benefits. According to Health, drinking coffee makes you feel good. A study discovered that coffee boosted feelings of kindness, friendship, and happiness.

According to Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, drinking coffee can also lower your risk of diseases like liver cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and type 2 diabetes. Registered dietitian Andrea Dunn told  Cleveland Clinic that coffee beans contain B vitamins, potassium, riboflavin, and "about a thousand different botanical compounds." Coffee is also a top source of antioxidants. Many people don't eat their recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, so drinking coffee helps fill in these dietary needs. Of course, coffee can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. So if you're looking to maximize the benefits from your daily cup, should you drink it cold or hot?

Preparation is key for healthier coffee

There are multiple ways to make iced coffee. According to Starbucks, cold brew is made with cool water for lower acidity. Starbucks' iced coffee is brewed with water "just off the boil" and then cooled down. Iced coffee tends to be less acidic and gentler on your digestive system, according to Dr. Maheinthan Yogeswaran, a general practitioner (via Bustle). Cold brewed or iced, the finished product may look similar. However, the differences in preparation are important. According to a study in Scientific Reports, hot brewed coffee had more antioxidants than cold brew coffee.  The study also noted that cold brew's antioxidants decreased with dark roast beans (via American Chemical Society).

Filtering is also important for healthier coffee. A paper filter can block LDL cholesterol-raising diterpenes from entering your cup (via The New York Times). Of course, extra additions like syrups and sugar can change the health benefits of your drink and make coffee unhealthy. According to a Public Health study, these additions added 69 calories per day (via Eat This, Not That!). This is a modest amount compared to restaurant-crafted coffee drinks that can be significantly higher in calories and sugar. In the end, if you're looking for the best of both worlds in terms of antioxidants and acidity, a hot-brewed dark roast may be your best bet.