Which Drinks Can Help Lower Or Control Cholesterol Levels
Many different types of drinks contain compounds that may help reduce cholesterol levels or healthfully maintain them, such as oat and soy drinks.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance the body uses to make cells and hormones. High-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein are two different kinds of cholesterol. When cholesterol levels are unhealthful, it increases the risk of serious health conditions, such as stroke or heart attacks.
This article discusses drinks that may help control cholesterol levels, as well as drinks to avoid. It also lists alternative approaches that may be useful for people who wish to achieve more healthful cholesterol levels.
Many types of drinks can help lower or control cholesterol levels. These include:
What Role Does Cholesterol Play In Health
Cholesterol has a few major functions in the body. It plays a part in hormone and vitamin D production. Its also incorporated into bile acids, which aid digestion and vitamin absorption. Cholesterol provides support to the production and maintenance of your cell membranes, as well.
In other words, you need cholesterol for good health.
Is Wine Fine Or Beer Better
Almost 200 years ago, an Irish doctor noted that chest pain was far less common in France than in Ireland. He attributed the difference to the French habits and mode of living.
The comparatively low rate of heart disease in France despite a diet that includes plenty of butter and cheese has come to be known as the French paradox. Some experts have suggested that red wine makes the difference, something the wine industry has heavily and heartily endorsed. But theres far more to the French paradox than red wine. The diet and lifestyle in parts of France, especially in the south, have much in common with other Mediterranean regions, and these may account for some of the protection against heart disease.
Some studies have suggested that red wineparticularly when drunk with a mealoffers more cardiovascular benefits than beer or spirits. These range from international comparisons showing a lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in wine-drinking countries than in beer- or liquor-drinking countries.
Beer contains similar phenolic compounds as red wine but in lower amounts, including quercetin, epicatechins, and gallic acid. About 70-80% of polyphenols in beer come from barley malt, and another 20-30% from hops, the flowers from the hop plant.
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Eating Well + Exercise
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
The Stanford University School of Medicine study involved 200 middle-aged Americans, all sedentary and with poor eating habits. Some were told to launch new food and fitness habits at the same time. Others began dieting but waited several months before beginning to exercise. A third group started exercising but didnt change eating habits till several months later.
All the groups received telephone coaching and were followed for one year. The winning group was the one making food and exercise changes together. The people in this group were most likely to meet U.S. guidelines for exercise and healthy eating , and to keep calories from saturated fat at less than 10% of their total intake of calories.
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
Natural Healthy Drinks To Lower Cholesterol
Approximately 102 million Americans have high cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL and higher, with 35 million of this group having very high cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL and more. Its no surprise that statins prescribed to lower cholesterol are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.
While medication can and does lower cholesterol, the interest in naturally lowering cholesterol without medication is growing. Thankfully there are natural healthy drinks that may help lower cholesterol.
Some natural healthy drinks to include in your diet are some specific teas, a couple of fruit juices, and much fiber. There are many other drinks and activities to do besides this, of course. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle are an essential part of it.
In this article, we talk about six healthy drinks to add to your diet. Well also give you the details on what drinks to avoid and additional methods for reducing cholesterol.
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Focus On Fruits Vegetables Whole Grains And Beans
Our typical American diet is now abbreviated as SAD by scientists nationwide because its full of foods that do sad things to both hearts and waistlines. Hyperprocessed foods like potato chips and French fries. Sugar-saturated drinks. And fatty, artery-clogging meats and full-fat dairy foods like cheese.
We dont have to become complete vegetarians to get our cholesterol levels into healthy ranges, studies on the Pritikin Program have found, but clearly, the more vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and other naturally-fiber-rich plant foods we eat, the healthier well be.
Plant foods high in soluble fiber are especially beneficial in lowering total and LDL bad cholesterol levels. Good sources include beans , yams, oats , barley, and berries.
For simple tips on bringing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans into your life, here is a 5-day sample healthy meal plan from the doctors and dietitians at Pritikin Longevity Center.
What Is The Best Alcohol To Drink On The Keto Diet
Gin, rum, vodka and whiskey all fit within a low carb diet. The carbs and calories typically come from the mixers and that is why we are mixing our own low carb concoction here. I prefer vodka cocktails because the flavor of the alcohol is easier to mask.
Here Are More Cocktails To Get The Party Started:
Ingredients Needed For Vodka Berry Keto Cocktails
- Erythritol or Monkfuit Sweetener
- Sparkling Water
- Frozen Organic Berries
How To Make Low Carb Cocktails
What To Serve These Keto Cocktails With:
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Drinking Red Wine For Heart Health Read This Before You Toast
For years, studies have shown a relationship between drinking a moderate amount of red wine and good heart health, but experts say it’s important to understand what that means before you prescribe yourself a glass or two a day.
If you have questions or comments about this story, please email .
This story is part of Eat It or Leave It?, a series that provides a closer look at the pros and cons associated with certain foods and drinks.
Change The Way You Drink Cranberry Juice
Everyone loves that cranberry juice cocktail, but its loaded with sugar and very little natural juices. Find a natural creation with zero added sugar to get those cardiovascular benefits youre searching for.
A study suggests, if you drink this kind of cranberry juice twice daily, you can raise your HDL cholesterol while lowering the bad LDL cholesterol, all thanks to cranberrys potent antioxidants. It should be noted that cranberries can taste very bitter without all that sugar.
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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.
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.
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Drinks Containing Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals similar in shape and size to cholesterol that block the absorption of some cholesterol.
However, vegetables and nuts contain low levels of sterols and stanols that cannot lower cholesterol.
Companies are adding these chemicals to several foods and drinks, including fortified yogurt drinks, milk, and fruit juices.
The FDA state that most people should try to consume 1.3 g or more of sterols and 3.4 g of stanols per day.
Try to consume these sterols and stanols with a meal.
Eat Nine Fruits And Veggies
That number used to sound exorbitant to me. You mean like spend the whole day eating a garden? In reality, its actually not that hard. Heres how I do it and make it a painless part of my day:
I eat two fruits for breakfast in my oatmeal, blueberries and bananas. I also eat an apple and a tangerine as a snack later in the afternoon. Thats 4 right there, or 3.5 if the tangerine is small. I also have fruit for dessert after dinner. I love it. I used to think fruit for dessert was lame, but today, I crave all that juicy sweet fruit after a meal, especially pears, oranges, or watermelon.
For vegetables, before dinner Ill snack on baby carrots and baby tomatoes. For dinner Ill have steamed spinach, and one or two veggies with the dinner entrée. Brownie points if one of those is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli or kale.
See painless. When youre hungry for a snack, reach for a fruit or veggie. I know that sounds ridiculous when you are really craving chips, but make a bargain with yourself: eat the fruit or vegetable first and then let yourself have chips. Soon enough you might even become more satisfied with the produce only.
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How Does Alcohol Raise Your Cholesterol
- When you drink alcohol, its broken down and rebuilt into triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver. So, drinking alcohol raises the triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood.
- If your triglyceride levels become too high, they can build up in the liver, causing fatty liver disease. The liver cant work as well as it should and cant remove cholesterol from your blood, so your cholesterol levels rise.
- Alcohol can lead to the combination of a high triglyceride level along with low HDL cholesterol. This can lead to heart disease.
Alcohol can affect your health in other ways too:
- it can lead to weight gain and raise your blood pressure, which raises your risk of heart disease
- it can lead to some types of cancer, liver disease, pancreatitis, depression and dependency.
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 alcoholic beverages such as beer may also be able to improve heart health in modest amounts. But can drinking beer also lower your cholesterol levels?
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Is Beer Bad For Heart Health
Beer generally gets a bad heart-health rap thanks to its calorie and sugar content. This raises your risk of obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, which in turn is a risk factor for high cholesterol. But the story isnt as clear-cut as it first seems, as beer may also confer some heart benefits.
One reason is that the barley, malt and hops used to brew beer contain polyphenols plant compounds that have been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and overall risk of heart disease. Beer is also a reasonable source of vitamin B6, a nutrient that helps dampen the effect of homocysteine, a blood chemical associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Heavy drinking more than 14 units a week on a regular basis still carries strong health warnings. But there is some evidence suggesting that consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, including beer, may help protect against heart disease.
This protection is normally found in men over 40 and postmenopausal women. But in 2017, researchers from the University of Cambridge and University College London found that moderate drinkers were less likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared with both teetotalers and heavy drinkers. This protection was found in both men and women aged over 30.
Do light beers have any health benefits?
Green Tea Top Cholesterol Lowering Drink
Is it any wonder that teas have been cherished for their healing properties since ancient times? Now that science can delve more in-depth, we can confirm that green tea, is one of the best drinks to lower cholesterol. Green tea a loaded with beneficial antioxidants such as catechins.
Unlike other teas, green tea doesnt go through extensive processing. Thats why many of its antioxidants like catechins, are preserved. Many studies suggest antioxidants like catechins in green tea can lower LDL cholesterol significantly, plus it helps with regulating blood pressure.
When choosing green tea, though, you must find minimally processed ones to reap the benefits. Hibiscus tea has also been noted for high antioxidants, which halt free radical damage and help the heart and body heal.
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Make Citrus Juice Your Main Squeeze
Citrus fruit juices are also a good antioxidant-booster that could benefit your heart health and lower cholesterol levels. You can always squeeze orange/lemon into your water and drop a slice with the rind in there too to get the best benefit. Its not as powerful as cranberry juice. But it adds flavor to your water, which will help you drink more of it in the long run.
How Else Can You Control Cholesterol Levels
Even if moderate alcohol drinking has cardiovascular benefits, its not a recommended method of preventing cardiovascular diseases. Here are other things you can try to help improve your cardiovascular health:
- Be mindful of your diet Eat more fruits and vegetables, cut back on salty and fatty food, and avoid sugary beverages and snacks.
- Exercise regularly 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day is ideal.
- Take the right supplements Supplements are a great way to get important nutrients you may not be getting from your diet. They are also a great way to get some of the cardiovascular benefits of alcohol without the risk.
- Quit smoking Firsthand and secondhand smoke is bad for your heart.
- Prioritize mental health Find ways to manage stress and find time for the things you love.
Aside from this, you may also want to visit your doctor to check if you have any other medical issues which may contribute to poor cardiovascular health. For instance, according to the NIH, diabetes can put you at greater risk for heart disease.
Before you bring out the wine glasses, its important to understand the link between cholesterol and alcohol. Moderate alcohol drinking does offer some benefits, but excessive drinking can have a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular health.
On top of that, there are risks associated with alcohol consumption in general. So, you may want to consider alternative and safer methods of lowering cholesterol and promoting cardiovascular health.
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.