What Drinks Can Help Lower or Control Cholesterol?

Many types of beverages contain compounds that can help lower cholesterol or keep it at healthy levels, such as oat and soy drinks.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the body uses to make cells and hormones. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are two different types of cholesterol. When cholesterol levels are unhealthy, they increase the risk of serious health problems like stroke or heart attack. This article covers drinks that can help control cholesterol and drinks that should be avoided. It also lists alternative approaches that may be helpful for people looking to achieve healthier cholesterol levels.

The best drinks to improve cholesterol levels

Many types of beverages can help lower or control cholesterol levels. These include in particular:

1. Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins and other antioxidant compounds that appear to help lower “bad” LDL and total cholesterol levels. In a 2015 study, scientists gave rats drinking water fortified with catechins and epigallocatechin gallate, another beneficial antioxidant found in green tea. After 56 days, the scientists found that the levels of cholesterol and “bad” LDL in the two groups of rats fed a high-cholesterol diet had decreased by about 14.4% and 30.4%, respectively. However, more human studies are needed to further investigate this issue.

Black tea may also have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, but to a lesser extent than its green variety. This is mainly because the different amounts of catechins in teas mean that the body absorbs the liquid differently. In addition, caffeine can also help increase HDL levels.

2. Soy milk

Soy is low in saturated fat. Replacing high-fat cream or dairy products with milk or soy cream may help lower or control cholesterol levels.
One can consume 25 grams (g) of soy protein per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, soy is best consumed in its whole, minimally processed form with little to no added sugars, salts, and fats.

3. Oat drinks

Oats contain beta-glucans, which form a gel-like substance in the gut and interact with bile salts, which can inhibit cholesterol absorption and help lower cholesterol levels. A 2018 review found that oat beverages like oat milk can lower cholesterol more consistently than semi-solid or solid oat products. A 250ml glass of oat milk can provide 1g of beta-glucans. Be sure to check oatmeal drink labels to make sure they contain beta-glucans, which may appear in the fiber information, and how much they contain per serving.

4. Tomato Juice

Tomatoes are high in a compound called lycopene, which can improve lipid levels and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Additionally, research suggests that juicing tomatoes increases their lycopene content. Tomato juice is also high in cholesterol-lowering fiber and niacin. A 2015 study found that 25 women who drank 8 ounces of tomato juice daily for 2 months experienced a reduction in their blood cholesterol levels. The participants were between 20 and 30 years old and had a body mass index of at least 20.

5. Berry smoothies

Many berries are high in antioxidants and fiber, two things that can help lower cholesterol. In particular, anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant found in berries, may help improve cholesterol levels. Berries are also low in calories and fat. Make a berry smoothie by blending together two handfuls – about 80g – of any berry. Mix the berries with 1/2 cup low-fat milk or yogurt and 1/2 cup cold water.

Here are some examples of particularly healthy berries

the strawberries
blueberries
blackberries
raspberries

6. Beverages containing sterols and stanols

Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals that are similar in shape and size to cholesterol and block the absorption of some of the cholesterol. However, vegetables and nuts contain small amounts of sterols and stanols, which cannot lower cholesterol. Companies add these chemicals to several foods and beverages, including fortified plant-based spreads, yogurt drinks, milk and fruit juices. Most people should aim to consume 1.3g or more of sterols and 3.4g of stanols per day. People should aim to consume these sterols and stanols with a meal.

7. Cocoa drinks

Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate. It contains antioxidants, which doctors call flavanols, which can improve cholesterol levels. A 2015 study found that consuming a 450 mg beverage containing cocoa flavanols twice a day for a month reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Cocoa is high in monounsaturated fats, which can also help improve cholesterol levels. However, beverages that contain processed chocolate are high in saturated fat. People looking for healthy options may want to limit chocolate with added sugar, salt, and fat.

8. Plant milk smoothies

Many types of plant-based milks contain ingredients that may help lower or control cholesterol levels. A person can make a suitable smoothie base with soy milk or oat milk. Make a soy or oat smoothie by blending 1 cup (250 mL) of soy or oat milk with low-cholesterol fruits or vegetables, such as:

1 banana
1 handful of raisins or prunes
1 slice of mango or melon
2 small plums
1 cup kale or chard
2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Drinks to avoid

People who want to improve their cholesterol or keep it at a healthy level should avoid Safe Source drinks high in saturated fat, such as:

Coffee or tea with added cream, whipped cream, high-fat milk or cream
Drinks or smoothies with coconut or palm oil
pressed coconut beverages
iced drinks
high-fat dairy products

Avoid sugary drinks

Here are some examples of sugary drinks:

fruit juices
sports drinks
energy drinks
Lemonades or soft drinks
coffee or sweet teas
hot chocolate
prepackaged smoothies
Chocolate or sweetened dairy products

Some research has shown that light to moderate alcohol consumption may be more beneficial for heart health than not drinking at all. Moderate alcohol consumption can help raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Moderate consumption consists of drinking up to 1 glass of alcohol per day for women and up to 2 for men.

However, the effects of alcohol on cholesterol levels largely depend on factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed, the person’s age and gender, and the type of alcohol consumed. Also, excessive alcohol consumption raises cholesterol levels, and drinking alcohol carries so many health risks that its negative effects likely outweigh its benefits.

Other ways to lower cholesterol

Various behavior changes or habits can help lower cholesterol, such as:

Limit consumption of foods high in saturated fat, such as
Animal products
tropical oils
bakery products
fried food
processed foods
limit the consumption of high-sugar foods
Get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week.
especially through healthy eating
fruits and vegetables
full grain
lean meat in moderation
mother
dry vegetables
vegetable oils
fat-free or low-fat dairy products
Increase fiber intake
smoking cessation
Treatment or management of type 2 diabetes
Maintain a healthy or moderate weight
drink enough
Doctors may also prescribe medications like statins to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

understand cholesterol

High circulating cholesterol can lead to higher health risks.

However, there is more than one type of cholesterol.

LDL can be a “bad” type of cholesterol because it can build up on the inside of blood vessels and form plaque. As plaque progresses, it can constrict blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood they can carry. Plaque build-up is especially dangerous when it builds up in arteries that supply vital organs like the brain or heart. Narrowing of the arteries also increases the risk of a blood clot or other substance getting stuck there. This can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

HDL may be a “good” type of cholesterol. It absorbs circulating cholesterol and returns it to the liver for excretion. To stay healthy, most people need to limit or lower their LDL levels and increase their HDL levels. This helps keep enough HDL circulating to keep LDL levels under control.

Foods high in unsaturated fats can help the body absorb HDL, while foods high in saturated and trans fats increase blood LDL levels.

summary

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is critical to overall health and cardiovascular health in particular.

Many beverages contain natural chemicals and compounds that can help improve these levels. These include in particular:

oats and soy milk
tomato juice
Green tea
cocoa drinks
Beverages fortified with sterols and stanols.

However, there is no quick fix for lowering cholesterol. It can sometimes take weeks or months for lifestyle or diet changes to take effect.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a physician.

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