Have you ever wondered if those drinks after work or those parties in the weekends have affected your blood cholesterol levels? Alcohol is always filtered through the liver and liver is the place where cholesterol is formed, so the effects of alcohol on our hearts depend mostly on how much and how often we drink alcohol.
Cholesterol is a wax-like matter that is produced in the body and is also, taken from food. There are two types of cholesterol that the body produces: LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. LDL means low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and HDL is high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. While LDL is “bad” cholesterol, HDL is “good” cholesterol. This is because LDL cholesterol builds up inside the arteries and forms plaque, which can restrict blood flow to other parts of our body and result in a heart stroke or a heart attack. Our body produces enough cholesterol already, so we do not require cholesterol from our diet. However, our diet plays a major role in the elevation of our cholesterol numbers. Alcohol in its pure forms, such as beer, wine, and hard liquor does not contain any cholesterol; however, when we mix them with certain things and drink them often and too much in quantity, it can affect our heart health greatly.
Chilled Mugs Of Beer
Beer contains no cholesterol. However, the carbohydrate and alcohol content in beer can raise our triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are just a form of fat in our blood and they contribute to our total cholesterol. Plant sterols are compounds present in beer that bind to cholesterol and help in eliminating cholesterol out of the body. Although beer doesn’t contain cholesterol, it isn’t very good for our heart because it has been found that the plant sterol levels in our average chilled beer is quite low and having one whole-grain beer still doesn’t affect our cholesterol levels positively.
Barrels Of Hard Liquor
Whiskey, vodka, and gin are hard liquors and they do not contain any cholesterol as well. However, new concoctions of these liquors are made, such as the candy-flavored whiskeys and these may contain extra sugars. Sugar affects cholesterol levels negatively and this applies the same with other mixed drinks and cocktails as well. As a result, it has been proved that both alcohol and sugar content increase triglyceride levels in the blood, resulting in the rise of LDL cholesterol.
Sparkling Glasses Of Wine
With the great reputation that wine has earned over the years, it is regarded as one of the best alcoholic beverages for adults. This is because wine contains resveratrol, a plant sterol that is found in red wine. Resveratrol helps in reducing inflammation and prevents short-term clotting, which helps in increasing the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Sadly, the positive effects of resveratrol are not long-lasting and more research is required to support the idea that it reduces the risk of heart complications.
Amount And Frequency Of Drinks Do Matter
Beer, wine, and liquor affect the cholesterol levels in the body in different ways, but the amount we drink and the frequency of drinking is what affects the cholesterol levels and our heart. Moderate drinking is one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, and this can affect the cholesterol levels positively. It has been found that moderate drinkers are less likely to experience a heart attack compared to those who don’t drink at all. It has also been found that men who drank almost every day had a lower risk compared to people who did not drink at all.
Moderate drinking can, in fact, raise people’s HDL (good) cholesterol levels because it can increase the speed at which proteins get transported through the body. However, if one drinks more than the moderate levels, the triglyceride levels can increase and thus, raise cholesterol levels as well, especially, LDL (bad) cholesterol.
So, the takeaway is that drinking depends a lot on how much we drink and how often we drink. Mild to moderate drinking is safe and can keep our hearts healthy, but research is still going on to find out which alcoholic beverage is the best one among all for our heart health.