Does Alcohol Affect Cholesterol?
There are so many ways alcohol consumption, particularly in excess, can cause problems with your health. People often wonder about the specific impact alcohol can have on their health, such as alcohol and cholesterol. But does alcohol affect cholesterol?
The following provides information about the relationship between alcohol and cholesterol, and key findings you should know.
First, cholesterol is a substance that’s produced by your body, and it can also be derived from the food you eat. One specific type, called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is particularly bad for people to have high levels of, as it builds up on artery walls and creates plaque. That plaque can then cause restricted blood flow and blockages that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
An ideal total cholesterol level should be below 200 mg/dL, and anything over 240 mg/dL is considered high. There’s also another term to know before going into the discussion of alcohol and cholesterol, and that is triglycerides. Triglycerides are also a type of fat that gathers in the blood, and if you have levels of this, it can mean you’re at an increased risk for heart disease.
In general, does alcohol affect cholesterol? The answer is yes, it can, and below breaks down the relationships that exist between alcohol and cholesterol.
Unfortunately, because beer contains something called plant sterols that bind to cholesterol and move it from the body, people think that beer can be helpful in lowering their cholesterol, but the amount is often so low that there’s virtually no impact.
While alcohol can increase triglycerides, the relationship between alcohol and cholesterol can show some benefits as well.
There have been some studies showing that people who drink in moderation have a reduced risk of blood clots, inflammation, and heart disease. So, does alcohol affect cholesterol positively? Some research shows that moderate amounts of alcohol can raise HDL levels which is the good type of cholesterol, and it can help protect you against a heart attack.
Red wine is one of the best when it comes to the relationship with alcohol and cholesterol because of the antioxidants it contains as well as resveratrol.
Unfortunately, people tend to hear that there can be some benefits with alcohol and cholesterol in moderation and they may think that gives them the green light to drink too much.
When you drink excessively, it can increase your risk for a number of heart-related issues.
For example, excessive alcohol can lead to obesity, increase triglycerides, and up your risk of stroke and heart disease. Too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure, contribute to disease of the heart muscle, and heavy alcohol users can be at risk for a condition called congestive heart failure. With congestive heart failure, the heart becomes too weak to pump efficiently.
There aren’t just heart-related risks to excessive drinking either. There is a myriad of other health concerns including liver problems and an increased risk of cancer.
So what this means is that with alcohol, you should never start drinking as a way to lower cholesterol or boost your heart health. It’s also important to know what is meant by moderate drinking.
With alcohol and cholesterol, while alcohol itself doesn’t contain cholesterol, it can indirectly lead to high cholesterol, particularly because it raises triglycerides in the blood.
To sum up, does alcohol affect cholesterol? Yes, it can in both positive and negative ways, but too much alcohol can lead to many other health problems even aside from cardiac-related problems.
If you’re concerned about your use of alcohol, speak with a medical professional about steps you can take, and don’t rely on alcohol as a way to lower your cholesterol without the instruction of your doctor.
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