Drinks are an extremely important part of our meal and we can often forget that they’re a mouth-wateringly important part of our diet. Drinks are ample scrumptious and healthy as both, tasty in-between snacks and as wholesome meal treats on the side.
Hence when it comes to managing cholesterol levels, it becomes highly important to focus on a healthy diet that includes nutritious drinks that can help lower cholesterol or maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Table of Contents
What Is Cholesterol And Why Is It Important?
Cholesterol plays an essential role in the body by helping to build cell membranes, produce hormones, and aid in the digestion of fat. It is a waxy, fat-like substance naturally produced by the liver and can also be obtained through certain foods. However, having high levels of cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease.
Types of cholesterol
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol
Often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, LDL cholesterol carries cholesterol particles throughout the body, including to the cells that line the arteries. When there is an excess amount of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, it can deposit in the artery walls, leading to the formation of plaque. Which can result in narrowed and hardened arteries, restricted blood flow, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is believed to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, as higher levels are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
It helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it back to the liver, where it can be broken down and eliminated from the body.
Recommended Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Total Cholesterol : It’s recommended to keep total cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
LDL Cholesterol : Aim for LDL cholesterol levels to be less than 100 mg/dL. However, for individuals with a higher risk of heart disease, the target may be even lower, such as below 70 mg/dL.
HDL Cholesterol : Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are generally desirable. For men, levels above 40 mg/dL are considered healthy, while for women, levels above 50 mg/dL are desirable.
Triglycerides : Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood. Elevated levels of triglycerides (above 150 mg/dL) can also contribute to heart disease risk.
Drinks To Lower Cholesterol
1. Green Tea
Green tea is a great healthy drink to start your day. It contains antioxidants called catechins, which could help lower cholesterol levels. Two cups of green tea daily can cause wonders for your health.
2. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is another wholesome option for in-between meal drinks. Fun tea fact – Certain herbal teas, such as hibiscus tea, can have cholesterol-lowering effects. Moreover, You can enjoy them hot as a breakfast drink or iced without adding sugar or sweeteners as a cool down drink.
3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is not only a mouth watering drink but also rich in antioxidants and can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. You can also opt for unsweetened cranberry juice or dilute it with water to reduce sugar intake.
4. Orange Juice
Freshly squeezed orange juice contains soluble fiber and antioxidants which can help improve cholesterol levels. Choose natural, no-added-sugar orange juice for best results.
5. Beetroot Juice
Beets are widely known for their many-a benefits. They remain delicious and nutritious whether eaten raw,in salad or in juices. They are rich in heart-healthy compounds and dietary nitrates that can lower cholesterol.
6. Tomato Juice
Sucker for those tangy treats? Then, good news for you. Tomato juice contains lycopene, an antioxidant that can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. You can look for low-sodium tomato juice without added sugars for optimum benefits.
7. Green Smoothies
Smoothies are a prime choice to cool in the scorching heat of India. Incorporating green smoothies made with leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, along with fruits like berries, can be an excellent nutritious and cholesterol-friendly beverage.
8. Soy milk
Soy milk contains plant sterols that can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Moreover, Soy milk is a great addition to your meal or healthy replacement for cow milk. Sidenote – If you are vegan, soy milk is easily a must in your diet which is both delicious and healthy.
9. Oat drinks
Oats are popular for their many nutritious values, one of which is that they can help reduce cholesterol levels. Unsweetened Oat drinks such as oat milk, oat bran milk, oat smoothies,oat based protein shakes et cetera can be delicious additions to your meal that will enhance your overall health.
10. Berry smoothies
Berries are delectable little treats that are rich in fiber and antioxidants, both of these can help reduce cholesterol. In the scorching heat of India healthy smoothies of berry like strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry can be great to cool down while giving that extra benefit of reduced cholesterol levels.
11. Cocoa drinks
Our love for cocoa products remains quite unrivalled. Cocoa and especially dark chocolate contain high amounts of flavanols, antioxidants which make them great for cholesterol levels. You can opt for drinks like dark chocolate hot cocoa, cocoa smoothies while consciously being mindful of added sugars and unhealthy fats often found in commercial cocoa mixes or chocolate-flavored drinks,
12. Plant-based smoothies
Talking about nutritious smoothies, plant-based smoothies are also great for lowering cholesterol. Plant-based smoothies like citrus, berry, green, banana, kale, pumpkin, melon mixed with plant-based milk, oat milk or soy milk can make for a very tasty and wholesome drink.
13. Drinks containing stanols & sterols
Plant stanols and sterols are cholesterol-like compounds that can be naturally found in plant-based foods like vegetable oils, grain products such as breads and cereals, seeds, nuts, legumes, and fruits and vegetables. They have a similar chemical structure to cholesterol and inhibit absorption of cholesterol which results in reduction in LDL.
14. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits known to mankind. It contains powerful antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols which help in reducing LDL or bad cholesterol. You can opt for mouth-watering pomegranate juice to lower cholesterol if you love that sour or tangy feel in your mouth.
15. Citrus Juice
Citrus refers to a group of tangy fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits, tangerines. These vitamin C rich fruits are definitely amazing as they can reduce the bad cholesterol aka LDL and improve the good cholesterol aka good cholesterol. Citrus fruit juices are a savoury treat for all the foodies.
Remember that while these drinks may have potential benefits, it’s crucial to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Combine them with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and follow any medical advice or prescribed medications from your healthcare provider to effectively manage cholesterol levels.
Drinks To Avoid
Here are some popular drinks you should avoid if you are trying to improve your cholesterol levels :
- Masala Chai with Full-Fat Milk
- Sweetened Lassi
- Sugary Fruit Juices
- Traditional Milkshakes
- Sweetened fruit juices
- Energy drinks
- Full-fat dairy milk
- Creamy coffee beverages
Cholesterol is an important waxy fat-like substance, helping to build cell membranes, produce hormones, and aid in the digestion of fat and LDL can also increase the risk of heart disease. It is important to maintain healthy cholesterol levels for a healthy lifestyle. Adding these wholesome drinks that improve your cholesterol levels can help you stay healthy.
Let us know your favourite drinks for cholesterol and subscribe to our newsletter for more health related blogs.