One of the most troubling things about high cholesterol is that you won’t know you have it until you visit your doctor. There are no symptoms and left unchecked; highcholesterol puts you at greater risk for heart disease. In addition to a healthy diet to control cholesterol, you can also look at some drinks that may help lower your cholesterol.
Best Drinks to Lower Cholesterol
The best drinks that help lower cholesterolinclude green tea, soy milk, citrus juice, red wine, pomegranate juice, and more.These drinks are rich in antioxidants that may effectively reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Read on to learn how these drinks can help lower your cholesterol level. Only having at least one of the following drinks each day can positively impact your cholesterol level and your overall health in a positive way!
Change The Way You Drink Cranberry Juice
Everyone loves that cranberry juice cocktail, but it’s loaded with sugar and very few natural juices. Find a natural creation with zero added sugar to get those cardiovascular benefits you’re searching for.
A studysuggests, if you drink this kind of cranberry juice twice daily, you can raise your HDL cholesterol (remember, that’s the good one!) while lowering the bad LDL cholesterol, all thanks to cranberry’s potent antioxidants. It should be noted that cranberries can taste very bitter without all that sugar.
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. It’s 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.
Make Red Wine Your Only Alcohol Choice
Red Wine is different than other alcoholic beverages due to its strong antioxidant properties making it the only alcoholic drink on this list. Studies suggest that moderate consumption of red wine can not only lower LDL cholesterol but also prevent coronary heart diseases and prevent blood clots.
Red Wine contains a large number of polyphenolic compounds like resveratrol, anthocyanins, and catechins. Resveratrol, in particular, is the most effective compound which has been shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol because of its antioxidant properties.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to several chronic diseases. So drink a certain amount (5 oz/148 mL of wine) every day to get the benefits and cut the risk to develop other diseases.
Grape Juice – A Great Alternative
When you want to avoid alcohol but keep the cholesterol-lowering benefits of red wine, grape juice is the best alternative out there. Grape juice contains flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of ‘LDL’ cholesterol, and raises ‘HDL Cholesterol Levels. It also helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Go with dark red and purple grapes juice since these tend to be higher in antioxidants than white or green grapes.
Go Tart with Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice has also shown promising benefits for lowering cholesterol and improving cardiovascular health. Daily consumption of tart cherry juice can significantly lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure to help you get back into good health again.
However, when choosing tart cherry juice, only choose unsweetened varieties, or you’ll be undoing the benefits you should be getting from it.
Drink Pomegranate Juice Everyday
Antioxidant properties in Pomegranate juice are much higher than in other fruit juices, including blueberry, cranberry, and orange. It contains nearly three times as many antioxidants as green tea or red wine, making it a perfect natural drink to lower cholesterol levels.
This antioxidant-rich juice not only helps withlowering LDL cholesterol, but it also reducesbloodvessel damage and prevents the hardening of the arteries. A study suggests that consuming concentrated pomegranate juice significantlyreduced the total cholesterol level in type II diabetic patients. In another study, drinking pomegranate juice for eight weeks showed positive impacts on blood pressure, serum triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol.
To get the most health benefits out of pomegranate juice, make sure to drink pure pomegranate juice without added sugar. The added sugar adds more calories resulting in reduced effectiveness.
Tomato juice contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from damage. Dietary intake of antioxidants is shown to reduce inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and other diseases, by helping to decrease LDL and total cholesterol.
One study found that drinking 400mL (13.5 oz) of tomato juice daily reduced total cholesterol by 5.9% and LDL cholesterol by 12.9% compared to the group not consuming any tomato products.
You can reap the cholesterol-lowering effects of tomato juice by enjoying a bowl of tomato basil soup, virgin bloody Mary, or a glass of low-sodium tomato juice!
The main antioxidant in cocoa is called flavanols, which is a compound that may help to improve cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol. Dark chocolate that contains more than 70% cocoa can help to improve heart health, blood pressure, and cognitive function.
Unfortunately, cocoa drinks are typically high in added sugars, which can have adverse effects on cardiovascular health and increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
To reap the benefits of cocoa drinks without the added consequences, look for cacao powder (the raw unprocessed form of cocoa) or cocoa drinks that are made up of at least 70% cocoa and contain little to no added sugars.
Fix your sweet tooth craving and lower your cholesterol in one sip by using cocoa powder in smoothies or making hot cocoa with soy milk (double points for this beverage!).
Soy is naturally low in saturated fat, the dietary fat that raises our low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
Over the past decade, numerous studies have found that soy protein lowers LDL cholesterol by approximately 4-6% and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good” cholesterol by 1-3%. By replacing beverages high in saturated fat, like whole milk, with beverages low in saturated fat, like soy milk, you can help to improve your cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease.
Another great aspect of soy milk is that it has one of the highest protein contents of plant-based milk beverages and is similar to that cow’s milk (about 8 grams of protein per 1 cup).
To take advance of soymilk’s health benefits enjoy it in place of creamer in your coffee, add it to smoothies, oatmeal, or cereal, or simply drink it by itself!
Oat milk contains dietary fiber, specifically beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material and functions to lower both blood cholesterol and glucose levels in the body. This type of fiber is found in oats, beans, apples, barley, and psyllium. A diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other preventable diseases.
Just like soy milk, oat milk is also naturally low in saturated fat, making it a great replacement for full-fat dairy products that are higher in saturated fat.
Oat milk is a perfect replacement in a coffee beverage (like oat milk lattes), smoothies, cereal, baked goods, or on its own! It can also be a great option for individuals with soy or nut allergies.
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 doesn’t go through extensive processing. That’s 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.
Why You Should Worry About High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy stuff present in the blood to help your body produce hormones and construct healthy tissues. But elevated levels of cholesterol can create fatty deposits in your arteries which makes it hard for sufficient blood flows through your blood vessels raising your chance of cardiovascular disease.
Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream on proteins known as lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol through the body: LDL cholesterol is known as the”bad” cholesterol since it results in fatty buildups in arteries (atherosclerosis). LDL constitutes the majority of your body’s cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels can build up a plaque with time narrowing the interiors of these vessels. These plaques can limit or block blood flow from the heart to other organs which can lead to chest pain and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
HDL cholesterol is considered the”good” cholesterol as a healthy level can protect against heart attack and stroke. HDL also carries LDL (bad) cholesterol from your arteries and back into the liver, where the LDL is broken down and hauled out of your system. However, HDL cholesterol does not fully remove LDL cholesterol.
To maintain a healthy cholesterol level, you should look for healthy food and drink choices along with a healthy lifestyle.
Lowering your cholesterol and keeping it at a healthy level is the best way to live a long and healthy life without succumbing to this silent killer. When your LDL cholesterol gets too high, you can develop a medical condition known as hypercholesterolemia and increase your risk for atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke.
While it might not seem like a significant change to make, drinking these beverages to lower your cholesterol can add to your other efforts in lifestyle changes. Raise your glass and drink to your health!
About the Author
Maggy Doherty, RD, LD, MS
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Maggy Doherty is a Registered Dietitian and owner of her own nutrition private practice, Doherty Nutrition.
As a UCLA student-athlete on the Women’s Diving team, she learned how to use food to take her health and performance to the next level.
She earned her Master of Science in Nutrition at the University of Illinois and has practiced as a clinical dietitian at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital.
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.