What is the best drink to lower cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream that is essential for the normal functioning of the human body. However, high levels of cholesterol in the blood lead to the formation of plaque in artery walls, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health issues. On the other hand, low levels of cholesterol can also cause health problems, such as hormonal imbalances and liver disease. Thus, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in the body is essential for overall health and well-being. One way to do so is by including Drinks to Lower Cholesterol in the diet. In this article, we will discuss the importance of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and the best drinks, and other dietary and lifestyle changes for the quintessential management of cholesterol.
What are the two main types of Cholesterol and their effects on the body?
There are two main types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) often referred to as “good” cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) on the other hand is referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
It helps remove an excess level of cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver for processing and elimination. This is advantageous for heart health, as high levels of HDL can reduce the risk of heart disease.
It can contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries. When LDL level increases in the body, it can accumulate in the artery walls in the form of plaque, which can restrict blood flow to the heart and other organs leading to heart diseases and stroke.
Here it’s worth mentioning that cholesterol itself is not bad; in fact, it is a necessary component of cell membranes and helps produce certain hormones and vitamin D in the body. However, high levels of LDL cholesterol can be harmful to the body, while high levels of HDL cholesterol can be protective.
Read More: CHOLESTEROL: All You Need To Know About It
Drinks to Lower Cholesterol
Several drinks are found to have cholesterol-lowering properties, including:
Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins that lower LDL cholesterol levels. It works by reducing the absorption of fats into the intestine and decreases the synthesis of fatty acids, which ultimately helps to lower LDL levels in the body. According to a study, those who consume at least two cups of green tea per day for 7 to 10 years are less likely to have cardiovascular diseases than those who did not drink green tea regularly.
Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol, which increases HDL cholesterol levels in the body and reduces the risk of heart disease. While too much alcohol can be harmful to health, some studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption may have protective cardiovascular health benefits. What is deemed as a moderate intake varies between men and women. For men, a moderate intake of alcohol is up to two drinks a day, and for women, this reduces to one drink per day.
Tomatoes are high in a compound called lycopene, which improves lipid levels and reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol. It’s also rich in cholesterol-reducing fibbers and niacin. A study found that 25 women who drank 280 ml of tomato juice daily for 2 months experienced a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. The participants were aged 20–30 years and had body mass index scores of at least 20.
Pomegranate juice is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It contains a higher level of antioxidants than other fruit juices such as blueberry and cranberry juice. Some studies have also suggested pomegranate juice can help lower blood pressure as well. Other than pomegranate juice, grape, cranberry, and cherry juice may also help with cholesterol management.
Orange juice is a rich source of Vitamin C and flavonoids. Flavonoid is a plant compound that reduces cholesterol levels. It works by preventing the absorption of fat in the intestines which can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
See more about the benefits of orange juice in your daily life in our article: Oranges: The Winter Superfruit
Soy milk which is low in saturated fat contains a type of plant protein called soy protein that lowers LDL cholesterol levels. Replacing cream or high-fat milk products with soy milk helps reduce and manage cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming 25 grams (g) of Soy milk per day. Additionally, it is preferable to consume soy in its whole and minimally processed form with little to no added sugar.
According to another authority, consuming 2–3 servings of soy-based foods or drinks daily, with one serving representing 250 (ml) of soy milk is essential.
Drinks Containing Sterols and Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals similar in characteristics to cholesterol that block the absorption of some bad cholesterol. According to the FDA, people should try to consume 1.3 g or more of sterols and 3.4 g of stanols per day
Recently some companies have started adding these chemicals to several foods and drinks, which may include fortified plant-based spreads, yogurt drinks, milk, and fruit juices.
Other dietary and lifestyle changes for managing cholesterol levels
Along with incorporating the above drinks into your diet, there are other dietary and lifestyle changes one can make to help manage one’s cholesterol levels, including:
Reducing intake of saturated and trans fats: Saturated and trans fats can increase LDL cholesterol levels. Therefore, it is essential to limit the intake of such foods that contain these fats, e.g. fried foods, processed meats, and baked goods.
Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also rich in fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and exercise.
Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
To sum up, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is crucial for overall health and well-being. In addition to incorporating the best drinks for cholesterol management into one’s diet, it is essential to make other dietary and lifestyle changes such as reducing intake of saturated and trans saturated fats, eating a diet high in fruits, and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. By making these changes, one can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, you can’t just drink one magical thing to lower your cholesterol fast, but some drinks can help over time. Like, green tea, soy milk, and orange juice are some examples that may help reduce cholesterol levels gradually.
If you want to get rid of cholesterol, you should try to eat healthy foods, do regular exercise, quit smoking, and not drink too much alcohol. This combination can help you flush out cholesterol from your body.
Lemon water has some vitamin C and antioxidants that might help to lower cholesterol levels, but we need more research to be sure.
Just drinking hot water won’t lower your cholesterol, but drinking enough water and other fluids can help you maintain good heart health in general.