9 Drinks That Can Help Lower Cholesterol

Many different types of drinks contain compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels or keep them healthy, 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, it increases the risk of serious health problems, such as a stroke or heart attack.

This article discusses drinks that can help control cholesterol levels, as well as drinks that you should avoid. It also includes alternative approaches that may be helpful for people who want to achieve healthier cholesterol levels.

Many types of drinks can help lower or control cholesterol levels. Among which:

1. Green tea

Green tea contains catechins and other antioxidants that do seem to help lower “bad” LDL and total cholesterol levels.

In a Study from 2015scientists gave rats drinking water infused with catechins and epigallocatechin gallate, another beneficial antioxidant in green tea.

After 56 days, scientists noticed that cholesterol and “bad” LDL levels dropped by about 14.4% and 30.4% in the two groups of rats fed a high-cholesterol diet. However, further human studies are needed to investigate this further.

Black tea can also have a positive effect on cholesterol, but to a lesser extent than the green variety. This is mainly because different amounts of catechins in the tea cause the body to absorb the liquid differently.

In addition, caffeine can also help raise HDL levels.

2. I am milk

Soy is low in saturated fat. Replacing cream or low-fat dairy products with soy milk or creamers may help lower or control cholesterol levels.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consumption 25 grams (g) per day of soy protein as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, it is preferable to consume soy in its whole and minimally processed form with little to no added sugars, salts and fats.

Other authorities recommend consuming 2-3 servings of soy-based foods or drinks daily, with one serving representing 250 milliliters (ml) of soy milk.

3. Oat Drinks

Oats contain beta-glucans, which form a gel-like substance in the intestines and interact with bile salts, which be able to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and help lower cholesterol levels.

A 2018 review found that oat drinks, such as oat milk, may provide a more consistent reduction in cholesterol than semi-solid or solid oat products. A 250 ml glass of oat milk can provide 1 g of beta-glucans.

Be sure to check oat drink labels to make sure they contain beta-glucans, which may appear as part of the fiber information, and how much they contain per serving.

Read more about oat milk here.

4. Tomato juice

Tomatoes are rich in a compound called lycopene, which can improve lipid levels and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

In addition, research suggests that processing tomatoes into juice increases their lycopene content.

Tomato juice is also rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber and niacin.

A 2015 study found that 25 women who drank 280 ml of tomato juice daily for 2 months experienced a reduction in 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 rich in antioxidants and fiber, both of which can help lower cholesterol levels.

In particular, anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant in berries, can do that Help improve cholesterol levels.

Berries are also low in calories and fat.

Make a berry smoothie by mixing two handfuls – about 80 g – of any berry. Combine the berries with 1/2 cup of low-fat milk or yogurt and 1/2 cup of cold water.

Examples of particularly healthy berries are:

6. Drinks containing sterols and stanols

Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals that are similar in shape and size to cholesterol and that block the absorption of certain cholesterol.

However, vegetables and nuts contain low levels of sterols and stanols that cannot lower cholesterol.

Companies add these chemicals to a variety of foods and beverages, which may include fortified plant-based spreads, yogurt drinks, milk and fruit juices.

The FDA states that most people should aim to consume 1.3 g or more of sterols and 3.4 g of stanols per day.

People should try to consume these sterols and stanols with a meal.

7. Cocoa drinks

Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate. It contains antioxidants that doctors call flavanols that can improve cholesterol levels.

A Study from 2015 found that consuming a 450mg drink containing cocoa flavanols twice daily for 1 month lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

Cocoa is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can also help improve cholesterol levels.

Processed chocolate drinks, however, are high in saturated fats. People looking for healthy options may want to limit chocolate with added sugars, salts, and fats.

8. Plant-based milk smoothies

Many 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 mixing 1 cup (250 ml) of soy or oat milk with cholesterol-lowering fruits or vegetables, such as:

People who want to improve their cholesterol levels or maintain healthy levels can do this want to avoid drinks high in saturated fats, such as:

  • coffee or tea with added cream, whipped cream, low-fat milk or creamer
  • drinks or smoothies with coconut or palm oil
  • pressed coconut drinks
  • ice-based drinks
  • high-fat dairy products

Drinks more than 12 ounces of sugary drinks per day can also lower HDL levels and raise triglyceride levels, or fat levels, in the bloodstream.

Examples of sugar-sweetened drinks include:

  • fruit juices
  • sports drinks
  • energy drinks
  • soda or pop
  • sweetened coffee or tea
  • hot chocolate
  • prepackaged smoothies
  • chocolate or sweetened dairy products

Some research found that low to moderate alcohol consumption could be more beneficial for heart health than not drinking at all.

Moderate alcohol consumption can help raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Moderate consumption includes drinking up to 1 alcoholic drink per day for women and up to 2 for men.

However, the impact alcohol can have on cholesterol levels largely depends on factors such as how much a person drinks, their age and gender, and the type of alcohol they consume.

Plus heavy drinking increases cholesterol, and consuming alcohol carries so many health risks that the negative effects probably outweigh the benefits.

Several changes in behavior or habits can help lower cholesterol levels, such as:

  • limiting foods high in saturated fats, such as:
  • limiting the consumption of foods high in sugar
  • at least get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week
  • eating healthy foods, including:
    • fruit and vegetables
    • whole grain
    • lean meat in moderation
    • nuts
    • pulses
    • vegetable oils
    • fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • increasing fiber intake
  • quit smoking
  • treat or manage type 2 diabetes
  • maintaining a healthy or moderate body weight
  • staying hydrated

Doctors may also prescribe drugs, such as statins, to keep cholesterol levels healthy.

High levels of 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 lining of blood vessels and form plaque. As plaque progresses, it can narrow blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood the arteries can carry.

Plaque buildup is especially dangerous when it forms in arteries that supply vital organs such as the brain or heart. Narrowed arteries also increase the risk of a blood clot or other substances becoming trapped in them. 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 ensure that there is enough HDL circulating to control LDL levels.

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

Read more about the different types of cholesterol here.

Optimal levels of cholesterol consist of:

  • less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) for total cholesterol
  • less than 100 mg/dl for LDL cholesterol
  • more than 40 mg/dl for HDL cholesterol

Most adults over the age of 20 should see a doctor about every 20 years to have their cholesterol levels checked 5 years. However, for individuals with certain risk factors, such as comorbid conditions or older age, it may be advisable to check every 1-2 years.

A healthcare provider can easily check a person’s cholesterol level blood test.

A doctor can suggest lifestyle changes that can help a person lower their cholesterol levels. If these behavioral changes fail to lower cholesterol levels enough, a doctor may also prescribe cholesterol medications, such as statins.

You can also work with a registered dietician.

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is vital to overall health, especially cardiovascular health.

Several drinks contain chemicals and compounds that can help improve these levels. They contain:

  • oats and soy milk
  • tomato juice
  • green tea
  • cocoa drinks
  • beverages enriched with sterols and stanols

However, there is no quick fix for lowering cholesterol levels. It may take weeks or months for lifestyle or dietary changes to take effect.

9 Drinks That Can Help Lower Cholesterol

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