Alcohol and Cholesterol: Can it Help or Hurt You?
Eating healthy is absolutely essential if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol. We’re often encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables throughout the day, as well as foods that are high in unsaturated fats. But what about alcohol and cholesterol? Alcoholic beverages have always gotten a bad wrap when it comes to health. Is this stance justified? Perhaps it is, or perhaps there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
Over consumption of alcohol has been the cause of many diseases and deaths. In 2012, roughly 3.3 million net deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to the consumption of alcohol . This includes death due to diseased organs, fatal car accidents while under the influence, and much more. With alcohol having such a negative stigma to it, how on Earth can alcohol and cholesterol possibly have a good rapport?
Below, I’ll go over the relationships of some of the main types of alcoholic and cholesterol while specifically looking at how they can help or hinder your cholesterol levels. You may be surprised to find out that not all alcohol affects the health of your heart and arteries the same. In fact, some types of alcohol can actually help you to lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. It should be said that the statements laid out herein about the positive affects of alcohol and cholesterol occur only when consuming a moderate amount of alcohol.
Alcohol and cholesterol: Hard Liquor
At times, you may feel embroiled to engage in drinking whether it be due to a fun night out, a relaxing reward after a hard day’s work, peer pressure, using it as a coping mechanism, or many other reasons. However, the type of hard liquor you consume may make you think twice before you fill up that 2 oz. shot glass again.
Hard liquor like gin, tequila, whiskey, and vodka, are all cholesterol-free. Nevertheless, some variations of hard liquor like the new trend of candy-flavored whiskeys, may contain extra sugars. This in fact may negatively affect your cholesterol levels . So, try to be cognizant of how much added sugar your hard liquor has in it. This will allow you to be better equipped to decided if it’s best for you or not.
Alcohol and cholesterol: Beer
Most beer doesn’t contain any cholesterol in it. However, drinking beer may actually elevate your triglyceride levels due to the excess sugar many beers contain. If your beer habit happens to lead to weight gain, then it may also harm your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels too . This may put you at risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
To try and combat this from happening you can simply try cutting back on alcohol consumption or perhaps try drinking a light beer. These types of beers have less calories. Thus, containing less sugar. This will help to counteract the weight gaining affects that beer consumption is attributed with. A slimmer midsection correlates to lower triglyceride levels. Which is intimation of a healthier heart. Moderation is considered one 12 oz. beer daily for women or two 12 oz. beers a day for men .
Alcohol and cholesterol: Red Wine
As you can clearly see, the relationship between alcohol and cholesterol is not all bad. This is especially true when we look at the heart healthy affects of red wine. Red wine is very healthy for your heart as it can actually help to raise your “good” HDL cholesterol when consumed in moderation.
In particular, red wine may offer the greatest benefit for lowering the risk of heart disease and death due to it containing higher levels of natural plant chemicals like resveratrol that have antioxidant properties, which might protect artery walls .
Red wine is also particularly beneficial for lowering cholesterol and improving heart health due to its polyphenol antioxidants, which may also lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Try not to consume any more than one 5 oz glass of red wine per day for women and two for men .
Concluding thoughts on alcohol and cholesterol
Alcohol and cholesterol doesn’t have the best rapport when it comes to health. Nevertheless, the research tells us that not all alcohol is created equally. You should definitely be cognizant of the amount of sugars that your go-to alcoholic beverage contains to ensure that you limit weight gain, which will inadvertently reduce your triglyceride levels. Thus, improving your overall heart health.
Red wine is one of the best types of alcohol for lowering cholesterol hands down. This is mainly due to the natural plant chemicals and antioxidants that this robust beverage contains. Remember to make sure that you drink in moderation to actually experience the benefits that alcohol has to offer. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the relationship between alcohol and cholesterol and that by consuming the right kind and the right amount can actually improve the status quo of your heart and arteries.
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