Myth: Red Wine Lowers Cholesterol
Fact: Keeping your cholesterol within a healthy range is important if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease.
According to a study published in Clinical Nutrition, red wine increases good cholesterol. On the flip side, nonalcoholic red wine decreases levels of bad cholesterol. LDL levels stayed the same in people who drank alcoholic red wine, so keep this in mind when you order a glass with dinner.
How Drinking Beer Affects Cholesterol
Beer is probably the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. Although beer sometimes garners a bad reputation due to its alcohol content, it also contains a few surprisingly healthy ingredients.
Barley, one such ingredient that is used to make beer, contains polyphenols, which have been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and promoting heart health.
There are also some studies suggesting that, in modest amounts, alcoholic beverages such as beer may also be able to improve heart health. But can drinking beer also lower your cholesterol levels?
What Causes Elevated Cholesterol
As far as diet, saturated fat is the single most influential factor affecting on cholesterol levels. A diet high in saturated fat has a potent influence on raising low-density lipoprotein, a harmful form of cholesterol.
Lifestyle choices can affect your cholesterol levels by influencing how your body breaks down cholesterol. Smoking for example, is well-known to increase cholesterol and another blood fat called triglyceride. Alcohol intake also influences cholesterol levels.
Read Also: Are Mussels High In Cholesterol
Types Of Alcohol And Their Effect On Cholesterol
According to the American Addiction Center , drinking more than moderate amounts of wine, beer, or liquor such as vodka, whisky, and gin can have a detrimental effect on a persons health, including causing elevated cholesterol levels.
In addition, the type of alcohol a person consumes can have different effects on the body. The following sections will look at these types and their effects in more detail.
Understanding Bad And Good Cholesterol
Its widely believed that the goal with cholesterol is simply to lower it, but thats not entirely true. While its recommended that you keep your total cholesterol level below 200 mg/dL, there are two components of cholesterol to consider: LDL and HDL .
LDL is bad cholesterol, and you should try to keep that number below 100 mg/dL. But HDL is good cholesterol, and you want to raise it if its below 60 mg/dL and maintain it above that level.
Alcohol can help you increase your HDL level, with red wine being particularly helpful. Plus, it contains antioxidants called polyphenols that may help protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart. One polyphenol that may be especially helpful is resveratrol.
But heres where the nuance comes in: Doctors generally dont recommend that people start drinking red wine, given that there are several risks associated with alcohol consumption . However, if youre already enjoying a glass of red wine with your dinner, continuing to do so may help your heart health.
How Healthy is Your Heart?
Have you ever wondered how healthy your heart is? Our free heart health risk assessment can compare your actual age to your hearts biological age, as well as calculate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Start our quick online assessment.
Recommended Reading: Are Mussels High In Cholesterol
Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
Brachial Artery Reactivity Protocol
Brachial artery ultrasound studies were performed to assess endothelial function by measuring flow-mediated dilation induced by reactive hyperemia as previously described and according to current guidelines. Studies were performed after the patient had rested for 10 minutes in a temperature-controlled room using a 7.5-MHz linear array vascular ultrasound transducer and an APOGEE 800 plus ATL ultrasound system .
The left brachial artery was imaged 2 to 15 cm above the elbow and scanned in longitudinal section with the focus zone set to the depth of the near wall. During image acquisition, anatomic landmarks such as fascial planes were noted to help record the same image of the artery throughout the study. Vessel diameter was measured using specific software developed at the Heart Institute that uses a semiautomatic approach to measure artery diameter based on an active contour technique supplemented by multiresolution analysis. The blinded operator selected a region of interest in 6 series of brachial artery images obtained from B-mode ultrasound. The distance between the near and far wall media-adventitia during diastole was obtained for all images, and the average was calculated.
Endothelium-independent vasodilation was assessed by administration of sublingual isosorbide dinitrate and calculated in an analogous fashion. The average of two measurements was taken.
Also Check: Is There A Lot Of Cholesterol In Shrimp
Risks Of Drinking Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can actually increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, raise blood pressure, contribute to obesity, and increase the levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.
Excessive drinking also can lead to heart muscle disease , irregular heartbeat , and stroke. Eventually, heavy alcohol use can leave the heart too weak to pump efficiently, a condition called congestive heart failure.
Because drinking alcohol also has other downsides, including increased risk of some cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, and an increased risk of accidents, the American Heart Association does not recommend that you start drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverages specifically to lower your cholesterol or improve your heart health. Instead, the organization advises watching your weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
If you do plan to drink, check with your doctor first, and drink in moderation — . Some people, especially pregnant women, and those who take certain medicines regularly, should avoid alcohol entirely.
How To Prevent & Treat High Cholesterol
High cholesterol puts you at an increased risk of heart disease, so it is important to follow medical advice and keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.
This may mean cutting back on your alcohol consumption by limiting the amount of alcohol you drink throughout the week.1
For some, it may mean only having one drink per day, two drinks during the week, or drinking only moderate amounts of beer or wine on the weekends. Others may need to stop drinking altogether.
Maintaining your health through regular, moderate exercise is also essential. Getting your body moving boosts your physical health, including your cardiovascular health. It also supports your mental health.
Lastly, building a more positive relationship with food can help you make healthier choices and keep your total cholesterol at ideal levels.
In this article
Also Check: Is Shrimp Bad For High Cholesterol
Too Many Fancy Coffee Drinks
Coffee itself can be a part of a healthy diet for most people, especially if you consume it black or with a lighter option of creamer. Unfortunately, coffee can become an unhealthy habit if you consume too many fancy coffee drinks with tons of added sugar or fat.
“Coffees with extra cream, high-fat milk, whipped cream, or creamer are rich in saturated fats, making them bad for trying to lower cholesterol levels,” says Dr. Shauna Hatcher, a certified nutritionist for the National Wellness and Public Health Network.
For more tips on high cholesterol, read these next:
How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Drink With High Cholesterol
If you have high total cholesterol or high bad cholesterol, you should limit your alcohol intake. Drinking liquor, beer, and other types of alcohol with high cholesterol can be dangerous.
If you are going to drink, stick to moderate alcohol consumption only.7 The recommendations for moderate alcohol intake are considered two standard drinks per day for men and one standard drink per day for women.8
This limit has been shown to reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease.
You should also talk to your doctor about drinking with high cholesterol. Your doctor can help determine how safe it is for you to drink with high cholesterol.
If necessary, they can also prescribe you medications to help lower your cholesterol.
Read Also: Do Cheerios Help Lower Cholesterol
How Do Beer And Alcohol Affect Your Cholesterol
38 percent of Americans suffer from high cholesterol1, and many also consume large amounts of alcohol. While the two issues are not necessarily linkedsmoking, diet, and exercise are also major factorsthere does appear to be a connection between how much you drink and your cholesterol levels.
But is drinking always bad for your cholesterol? How much drinking is too much? Does alcohol raise cholesterol in every case, or could some types of alcohol actually be beneficial? Below, well discuss the facts around cholesterol and alcohol, and how to keep a healthy balance.
How Can I Drink Less Alcohol
Cutting down on alcohol can be easier than you think. Try these tips to help you:
- check the percentage of alcohol in your drinks and swap to lower strength options
- only drink while youre having a meal
- take the bottle off the table while youre eating, so you wont top up without thinking
- alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
- make your drinks last longer by adding ice, water or mixers
- try drinking more slowly
- watch out for very large glasses
- choose smaller amounts, such as a bottle of beer instead of a pint
- buy a measure so you know how much youre drinking.
Read Also: Oyster High In Cholesterol
Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.
Get the top 5 food and fitness tips recommended by the doctors, dietitians, exercise experts, and other faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Pritikin has been helping people lower cholesterol levels since 1975.
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? Theres more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.
Thats what several studies on thousands following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise have found. Within three weeks, people were able to lower their cholesterol levels on average 23%, which translates into a 46% to 69% drop in heart attack risk.1
What Is The Healthiest Wine To Drink
According to Syn, if youre also looking to curtail the amount of calories youre consuming from wine, then dry sparkling and white wines are a good bet. I recommend brut Champagne, cava, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc. These have lower sugar content, which contributes to their lower calorie count, she says.
Don’t Miss: Are Grits Heart Healthy
Does Alcohol Increase Cholesterol Levels
While alcohol itself does not contain cholesterol, it can affect cholesterol levels in the blood in good and bad ways. To understand the link between alcohol and cholesterol, it is helpful to first understand how alcohol is broken down in the body.
The liver metabolizes alcohol and also produces cholesterol. Consuming alcohol can raise cholesterol levels because alcohol is processed through the same organ that is responsible for making cholesterol. For example, studies show that excessive drinking may increase LDL levels, which is the bad type of cholesterol.
In addition, alcohol is known to raise triglyceride levels. Your body will break down calories from alcohol to use as fuel before other nutrients in your body. Because alcohol is often consumed in addition to food, your body is more likely to store calories from food as fats in the form of triglycerides. Many alcoholic drinks also contain added sugars, which further increases the risk of raising triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels can lead to liver damage, including fatty liver disease.
On the other hand, light to moderate intake has been shown to possibly raise HDL, the good type of cholesterol. Specifically, some research has shown that drinking one 4-ounce serving per day of red wine has been linked to heart health, including increasing HDL levels. However, this benefit may be coming more from the other beneficial components of wine including resveratrol, rather than the alcohol itself.
Iv Resources On Alcohol And Cholesterol
Libonati, J. and Schwinden, K. Good Cholesterol, Bad Cholesterol. Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2011.
Rinzler, C. and Graf, M. Controlling Cholesterol for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley, 2008
Senior, N. and Cuskelly, V. Eat to Beat Cholesterol. Chatswood, NSW: New Holland, 2016.
Baer, D. J., et al. Moderate alcohol consumption lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nurs, 2002, 75, 593-599.
De Oliveira, E. et al. Alcohol consumption raises HDL cholesterol levels. Circ, 2000, 102, 2347-2352.
Earnst, N. et al. The association of plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol with dietary intake and alcohol consumption. Circ, 1980, 62, IV 41-52.
Koppes, L., et al. Blood cholesterol levels of 32-year-old consumers are better than of nonconsumers. Pharm Biochem Behav, 2000, 66, 163-167.
Linn, S. et al. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and alcohol consumption. Am J Pub Health, 1993, 83, 811-816.
Suh, I. et al. Alcohol use and mortality from coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med. 1992, 116, 881-887.
References for Alcohol and Cholesterol
Read Also: Shrimp And Triglycerides
Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour
Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.
Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.
In Harvard Universitys Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2
When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?
The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.
Is Alcohol Always Bad For Cholesterol
So, does alcohol cause high cholesterol in every situation?
In excess, alcohol can be a factor in high cholesterol levels. But in moderation, alcohol is not always a bad thing. In fact, some studies suggest that red wine can actually increase HDL levels, due to chemicals called polyphenols6.
Its important to point out, however, that these same beneficial compounds are available in ordinary grapes and other fruits such as blueberries. And, according to the American Heart Association, regular exercise is much more effective at raising HDL levels than drinking wine7.
In other words, while small amounts of red wine may not make your cholesterol worse, it shouldnt be your go-to for balancing your LDL/HDL levels.
Also Check: Is Clam High In Cholesterol
How Much Red Wine Is Good For Your Heart
In order to receive the heart health benefits of red wine, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men. For reference, one drink is equal to five ounces, or 140ml of wine.
Drinking too much wine, or any type of alcohol in excess, is very bad for your heart, says Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD, Chief Science Officer of Huntington Medical Research Institutes in Pasadena, California and Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Excessive drinking can also lead to heart failure a disease which makes it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body and atrial fibrillation, which is a type of arrhythmia where the heart beats quickly and irregularly.
Read more to learn about how different levels of alcohol consumption affect the heart.
How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Drink
To stay in good health and avoid illness, the government recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, for men and women.
To keep the risks down:
- spread your units out across the week
- have some alcohol-free days
- avoid drinking more than six units in six hours, which counts as binge drinking thats less than three 175ml glasses of wine or three pints of beer.
If you have high cholesterol or FH, it should be OK to drink alcohol within these limits. There are some health problems and treatments which can mean its safer to avoid alcohol all together. Speak to your doctor or nurse about whats safe for you.
In the past, it was thought that drinking in moderation was good for your heart. Its now believed that the only possible benefits are for women over 55 when drinking 5 units a week or less, and the benefits are modest.
We dont recommend drinking alcohol to improve your health, as you will improve your health more by eating well and being active. With alcohol, the cons could out way the pros.
How much is a unit of alcohol?
A unit of alcohol is roughly the amount your body can clear from your blood in one hour. Its the equivalent of 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol.
Different drinks contain different amounts of alcohol, as some are stronger than others. For example, a 175ml glass of wine can contain anywhere between 1.9 and 2.4 units. It can be surprising how many units are in your favourite drinks, and how quickly they add up.
14 units is roughly: