Cholesterol is a tough thing to fight, especially as you get older. With high LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, you’re unfortunately looking at a higher risk of things like heart attack, clogged arteries, and stroke.
“We are discovering more about what impacts a person’s cholesterol levels from genetics to diet to lifestyle habits, and it is becoming more clear that genetics play a larger role in how the body processes cholesterol and one’s risk for high cholesterol,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “Still, there are some dietary habits that can exacerbate or lead to high cholesterol.”
Here are some of the worst drinking habits you’ll want to skip after 50 in order to avoid high cholesterol. And for more healthy tips, make sure to check out Side Effects of High Cholesterol After 50.
Alcohol in moderation is usually fine. In fact, many cultures see a daily glass of red wine can be an important part of a healthy diet. However, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol over a long period of time can cause lasting damage to your health.
“Excess alcohol can increase blood cholesterol levels,” says Anna Rios, RDN. “Alcohol can be converted to fat when metabolized, and may also increase a type of cholesterol called ‘triglycerides.'”
“Sugary beverages are among the top beverage contributors to high cholesterol,” says Best. “One 12-year study involving 6,000 participants found that sugar-sweetened beverages were consumed more by those with high cholesterol than those with normal cholesterol in the study.”
Sometimes it’s not just about the drinks that should be avoided, but also about the drinks you may need more of. For example, it is crucial at any age to drink plenty of water on a daily basis, but it’s also an important factor in trying to lower cholesterol.
Coffee itself can be a part of a healthy diet for most people, especially if you consume it black or with a lighter option of creamer. Unfortunately, coffee can become an unhealthy habit if you consume too many fancy coffee drinks with tons of added sugar or fat.
“Coffees with extra cream, high-fat milk, whipped cream, or creamer are rich in saturated fats, making them bad for trying to lower cholesterol levels,” says Dr. Shauna Hatcher, a certified nutritionist for the National Wellness and Public Health Network.
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