Many different types of drinks contain compounds that may help reduce or manage cholesterol levels. Examples include green tea, oat drinks, soy drinks, and plant milk smoothies.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance the body uses to make cells and hormones. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are two different kinds of cholesterol.
When cholesterol levels are unhealthful, it increases the risk of serious health conditions, such as stroke or heart attacks.
This article discusses drinks that may help control cholesterol levels, as well as drinks to avoid. It also lists alternative approaches that may be useful for people who wish to achieve more healthful cholesterol levels.
Many types of drinks can help lower or control cholesterol levels. These include:
1. Green tea
Green tea contains catechins and other antioxidant compounds that
After 56 days, scientists noticed cholesterol and “bad” LDL levels had reduced by around 14.4% and 30.4% in the two groups of rats on high-cholesterol diets. However, further human studies are necessary to investigate this further.
Black tea can also have a positive impact on cholesterol, but to a lesser extent than its green variant. This is mainly because different amounts of catechins in the teas mean that the body absorbs liquid differently.
Additionally, caffeine can also help raise HDL levels.
2. Soy milk
Soy is low in saturated fat. Replacing cream or high-fat milk products with soy milk or creamers may help reduce or manage cholesterol levels.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming
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 create a gel-like substance in the gut and interact with bile salts, which
A 2018 review found that oat drinks, such as oat milk, may offer a more consistent reduction in cholesterol than semi-solid or solid oat products. A 250 ml glass of oat milk may provide 1 g of beta-glucans.
Make sure to check oat drink labels to ensure they contain beta-glucans, which may appear as part of the fiber information, and how much they include per serving.
Learn more about oat milk here.
4. Tomato juice
Tomatoes are rich in a compound called lycopene, which may improve lipid levels and reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol.
In addition, research suggests processing tomatoes into juice increases their lycopene content.
Tomato juice is also rich in cholesterol-reducing 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 aged 20–30 years and had body mass index scores of at least 20.
5. Berry smoothies
Many berries are rich in antioxidants and fiber, both of which may help reduce cholesterol levels.
In particular, anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant agent in berries, can
Berries are also low in calories and fat.
Make a berry smoothie by blending two handfuls — around 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 especially healthful berries include:
6. Drinks containing sterols and stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals similar in shape and size to cholesterol that block the absorption of some cholesterol.
However, vegetables and nuts contain low levels of sterols and stanols that cannot lower cholesterol.
Companies are adding these chemicals to several foods and drinks, which may include fortified plant-based spreads, yogurt drinks, milk, and fruit juices.
The FDA states that most people should try 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 may improve cholesterol levels.
Cocoa contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can also help improve cholesterol levels.
However, drinks containing processed chocolate have high levels of saturated fats. People looking for healthful options may wish to limit chocolate with added sugars, salts, and fats.
8. Plant milk smoothies
Many types of plant-based milk contain ingredients that may help lower or control cholesterol levels.
A person can make a suitable smoothie base using soy milk or oat milk.
Make a soy or oat smoothie by blending 1 cup (250 ml) of soy or oat milk with cholesterol-lowering fruits or vegetables, such as:
People who wish to improve their cholesterol levels or maintain healthful levels may
- coffees or teas with added cream, whipped cream, high-fat milk, or creamer
- drinks or smoothies containing coconut or palm oils
- pressed coconut drinks
- ice-cream-based drinks
- high-fat milk products
Examples of sugar-sweetened beverages include:
- fruit juices
- sports drinks
- energy drinks
- soda or pop
- sweetened coffees or teas
- hot chocolate
- prepackaged smoothies
- chocolate or sweetened milk products
Moderate alcohol consumption may help to increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
However, the impact that alcohol can have on cholesterol levels depends largely on factors including how much someone drinks, their age and sex, and the type of alcohol they consume.
Additionally, heavy drinking
Several behavioral changes or habits can help lower cholesterol levels, such as:
- limiting eating foods high in saturated fats, such as:
- animal products
- tropical oils
- baked goods
- fried foods
- processed foods
- limiting consumption of foods high in sugar
- getting at least
2 hours and 30 minutesof moderate to intense exercise per week
- eating healthful foods, including:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- lean meats in moderation
- vegetable oils
- fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- increasing fiber intake
- quitting smoking
- treating or managing type 2 diabetes
- maintaining a healthful or moderate body weight
- staying hydrated
Doctors can also prescribe medications, for example, statins, to help keep cholesterol levels healthy.
High levels of circulating cholesterol can trigger
However, there is more than one kind of cholesterol.
LDL can be a “bad” type of cholesterol because it may accumulate on the inner lining of blood vessels, forming plaque. As plaque progresses, it can narrow blood vessels, reducing how much blood the vessels can carry.
Plaque buildup is especially dangerous when it forms in arteries supplying vital organs such as the brain or heart. Narrowed arteries also increase the risk of a blood clot or other substances becoming stuck in them. This can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
HDL can be a “good” type of cholesterol. It absorbs circulating cholesterol and returns it to the liver for excretion.
To stay healthful, most people need to limit or reduce their levels of LDL and increase their HDL levels. This helps ensure they have enough HDL circulating to keep LDL levels in check.
Foods rich in unsaturated fat can help the body absorb HDL, while those high in saturated and trans fats increase LDL in the blood.
Find out 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 years should contact a doctor to check their cholesterol levels roughly every
A healthcare professional can check a person’s cholesterol levels with a simple
A doctor will be able to suggest lifestyle changes that can help a person to lower their cholesterol levels. If these behavioral changes are unable to sufficiently lower cholesterol levels, then a doctor may also prescribe cholesterol medicines, such as statins.
Additionally, a person can also work with a registered dietician.
Maintaining healthful cholesterol levels is vital to overall health, in particular, cardiovascular health.
Several drinks contain chemicals and compounds that may help improve these levels. They include:
- oat and soy milk
- tomato juice
- green tea
- cocoa drinks
- drinks fortified with sterols and stanols
However, there is no quick-fix way to reduce cholesterol levels. It may take weeks or months for lifestyle or dietary changes to have an effect.