Has your doctor told you that you need to work on lowering your cholesterol levels? But you feel stuck with where to start or what foods to eat? How about you start with drinks to lower your cholesterol?
Of course, you will need to change some of your other dietary habits too, but drinks can be a great place to start.
If you need to lower cholesterol and want a simpler place to get started, keep reading!
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance that is produced by the liver. There are two main types of cholesterol – HDL and LDL cholesterol.
LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it deposits in your arteries, may cause hardening and clogging of the arteries, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
In contrast, HDL is commonly known as “good” cholesterol because it circulates the blood stream and carries the LDL cholesterol back to the liver to be eliminated from your body. Thus, helping to prevent heart attacks or heart disease.
According to the National Institute of Health, people should aim for an LDL level of less than 100mg/dL and a HDL cholesterol level of greater than 40mg/dL. Total cholesterol levels should remain lower than 200mg/dL.
Top 5 drinks to help lower cholesterol
- Green tea: Compounds in green tea have been shown to help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, while leaving the “god” HDL cholesterol stable.
- Oat milk: Oats contain soluble fiber which has been proven to help improve cholesterol.
- Berry smoothies: Berries get their dark red and purple coloring from anthocyanins. These compounds have been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol.
- Plant Sterol and Stanol fortified drinks: sterols and stanols can block the absorption of cholesterol, thereby lowering cholesterol levels.
- Hot cocoa: cocoa contains antioxidants called flavanols that help to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
What else will lower cholesterol?
Other foods and nutrients that help to lower LDL cholesterol levels include foods containing soluble fiber. Some examples of foods high in soluble fiber are black beans, avocados, brussels sprouts, or sweet potatoes.
It is important to note that increasing your HDL cholesterol can help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Foods to help increase your HDL include healthy fats from olive oil, fatty fish, or avocado.
What beverages you should avoid
While all foods and beverages can be included as part of a healthy diet, there are certain beverages that should be limited to help prevent worsening cholesterol levels. Some of these would include full fat dairy, soda, or other sugary drinks.
All in all, if you are looking to lower your cholesterol levels, drinks can play a significant role in the process. All foods and drinks can find their way into a healthy diet, but focusing on some more than others may help to play a healthy role in heart health.