If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP – Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
How Much Red Wine Is Good For Your Heart
In order to receive the heart health benefits of red wine, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men. For reference, one drink is equal to five ounces, or 140ml of wine.
Drinking too much wine, or any type of alcohol in excess, is very bad for your heart, says Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD, Chief Science Officer of Huntington Medical Research Institutes in Pasadena, California and Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Excessive drinking can also lead to heart failure a disease which makes it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body and atrial fibrillation, which is a type of arrhythmia where the heart beats quickly and irregularly.
Read more to learn about how different levels of alcohol consumption affect the heart.
This Is How Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Cholesterol
The habits you develop in your daily life contribute to your health in both positive and negative ways. If youre looking to make some positive lifestyle changes to contribute to your health, start with choosing nutritious foods, getting plenty of exercise, and avoiding smoking. Your alcohol intake matters, too.
In moderate amounts, red wine is commonly linked to healthy cholesterol levels. But drinking more hard liquor, beer, mixed drinks, and excess red wine has a negative impact on your cholesterol levels.
At Westmed Family Healthcare, we want you to understand the connection between alcohol and cholesterol. Heres some information about cholesterol and how drinking affects your heart health.
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How Much Alcohol Is Too Much
While alcohol often gets a bad rap, research is showing that it may not need to be avoided altogether to have good heart health.
The interpretation of too much will vary from person to person. Factors such as age, body size, and liver size all determine how quickly alcohol will be metabolized. Some people can break down alcohol more quickly than others.
The general recommendation is for adults to not participate in anything more than moderate drinking, with less drinking being even better. Moderate drinking is defined as 1 to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.
In the United States, 1 standard drink is considered to be:
12 ounces of regular beer
5 ounces of wine
1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits
Keep in mind that aside from raising cholesterol and triglyceride levels, excessive drinking is also linked to a long list of other health consequences including cancer, heart disease, birth defects, injuries caused by driving under the influence, memory problems, mental health disorders, alcohol poisoning, and more.
If you drink alcohol or have liver damage, talk to your doctor before taking cholesterol medications known as statins. These medications may cause liver problems, and alcohol use may increase the risk of liver issues.
Is It True Red Wine Helps With Cholesterol
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What Causes Elevated Cholesterol
As far as diet, saturated fat is the single most influential factor affecting on cholesterol levels. A diet high in saturated fat has a potent influence on raising low-density lipoprotein, a harmful form of cholesterol.
Lifestyle choices can affect your cholesterol levels by influencing how your body breaks down cholesterol. Smoking for example, is well-known to increase cholesterol and another blood fat called triglyceride. Alcohol intake also influences cholesterol levels.
Yes Red Wine Can Be Heart Healthy
The link between red wine and a healthy heart may be due to the high level of micronutrients, called polyphenols, found in the skin and seeds of grapes.
During the production process, red wine is fermented with the grape skins and seeds for a longer period of time than white wine, which means the polyphenols are much more concentrated. For example, a glass of red wine contains around 10 times more polyphenols than a glass of white wine.
These polyphenols especially a polyphenol called resveratrol have been shown to protect and support heart health.
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Choose A Recent Vintage
While it probably wont taste nearly as good, a medium-quality grocery store wine may be better for your heart than the aged bottles found in most wine cellars. Why? The newer the wine, the higher its antioxidant content. Save the good stuff for special occasions and pick a recently bottled wine to reap more cardiovascular benefits.
How Can I Drink Less Alcohol
Cutting down on alcohol can be easier than you think. Try these tips to help you:
- check the percentage of alcohol in your drinks and swap to lower strength options
- only drink while youre having a meal
- take the bottle off the table while youre eating, so you wont top up without thinking
- alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
- make your drinks last longer by adding ice, water or mixers
- try drinking more slowly
- watch out for very large glasses
- choose smaller amounts, such as a bottle of beer instead of a pint
- buy a measure so you know how much youre drinking.
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Drink Cows Milk Which Also Provides Protein And Calcium
Skim or low-fat milk is also a good beverage option, but it must be counted toward your carb total for a particular meal or snack, Basbaum says.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , a cup of 1 percent milk also provides 305 milligrams of calcium, which accounts for about 23 percent of the daily value.
Be aware that nondairy milk options, such as almond milk, may have added sweeteners and flavorings. They also often lack the blood-sugar-stabilizing protein of cows milk.
Wine Has Been Shown To Be Safe Forand Beneficial Todiabetics
A recent study measured the blood sugar levels of more than 200 people living with type 2 diabetes. The subjects drank either wine or mineral water daily with a dinner based on the Mediterranean diet. For those who metabolize alcohol slowly, the participants who drank red or white wine saw beneficial effects on blood sugar compared to those who drank mineral water. They also experienced a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose and an improved measure of insulin resistance.
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If You Have Kidney Disease Or Liver Issues
If youve already been diagnosed with conditions relating to your kidney or liver function, Harris says alcohol truly is something you should avoid entirely.
The National Kidney Foundation says that while one drink on rare occasion for a person with existing kidney disease isnt necessarily life-threatening, it isnt going to help either. And they are very clear that excessive drinkingdefined by more than four drinks dailycan absolutely worsen your kidney disease and be a life-threatening habit.
It Elevates Blood Pressure
No cardiologist is going to suggest that you toast to your heart’s health because long-term drinking elevates your blood pressure and can increase the risk for hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke. According to a review study reported in the peer-reviewed journal Addiction, drinking alcohol causes increased blood pressure in a dose-dependent fashion. When 50 grams per day of ethanol is consumed, the risk for hypertension is increased by 70% and with 100 grams of ethanol per day the risk for hypertension increased by 250%.
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Red Wine: Good Or Bad
The health benefits of red wine have been debated for some time.
Many believe that a glass each day is a valuable part of a healthy diet, while others think wine is somewhat overrated.
Studies have repeatedly shown that moderate red wine consumption seems to lower the risk of several diseases, including heart disease.
However, there is a fine line between moderate and excessive intake.
This article takes a detailed look at red wine and its health effects.
Alcohol And Blood Sugar When You Dont Have Diabetes
So, what should you know about how alcohol affects blood sugar if you dont have diabetes? Some of the ways alcohol affects blood sugar include:
- Alcohol is high in sugar and calories, which can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Drinking moderately isnt likely to lead to type 2 diabetes, but excessive drinking over time can be a trigger for its development.
- If you drink alcohol, its important to factor in those sugars and calories when youre looking at your overall diet.
- Even if you dont have diabetes and drink excessively, it can cause low blood sugar because drinking increases insulin secretion, although it is unlikely these levels will get dangerously low.
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Stay Away From Huge Wineries
Leroy Creasy, PhD, a professor emeritus in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University, measured the resveratrol content in 100 different red wines. He advises avoiding big wineries because their wine is typically produced by chemists who may mellow out the wine to shorten aging timea process that reduces resveratrol. Look for wines from traditional or boutique wineries instead or, even better, organic wineries.
What You Should Do
If youre interested in lowering your blood pressure, Dr. Bhatt says drinking non-alcoholic red wine wont hurt. I wouldnt ever make a clinical recommendation based on just one small study. However, if you happen to like non-alcoholic red wine and drink it anyway, it might be worthwhile to see if it helps your high blood pressure, he says.
But dont count on non-alcoholic red wine to lower high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, cautions Dr. Bhatt. Most people need a combination of exercise, a healthy diet, and medications to control high blood pressure.
Moderate exercise for 150 minutes per week and following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet can powerfully lower blood pressure, sometimes making medicines unnecessary. DASH is an eating plan featuring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains foods with nutrients known to help reduce blood pressure, like calcium, potassium and magnesium and reduced sodium and saturated fat intake.
High blood pressure is a big problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that a third of all Americans have high blood pressure, and the majority of them dont have it under control.
Those are sobering facts. If the Spanish study pans out, one possible solution wont be too hard to swallow.
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Does The Type Of Alcohol Matter
Ultimately, its the quantity and frequency of drinking that has more of an impact on your cholesterol levels rather than the type of alcohol. Your body reacts to alcohol the same way whether its coming from beer, wine, or hard liquor.
As described above, some research has shown a positive relationship between red wine and HDL cholesterol levels, yet the exact way that wine impacts cholesterol levels needs more research. Thats probably why the American Heart Association currently does not recommend drinking wine or any other form of alcohol to gain potential benefits.
Your Body Needs Just Enough Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that travels through your blood. At persistently elevated levels, its linked to an increased risk in heart disease. But cholesterol isnt a bad guy on its own. In fact, your body needs cholesterol to function properly.
The problem is, your body needs only a small amount of it, and your liver produces enough to meet your bodys needs.
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So If I Have Diabetes I Can Drink As Usual
Not quite. People with diabetes need to be extra careful with alcohol.
Alcohol intake significantly increases the risk of . If your diabetes is already well under control, a moderate amount of alcohol may be fine either before, during or soon after a meal.
Even if you have a drink, this may not influence short-term blood glucose levels. However, there are some precautions to be taken care of.
Red Wine May Help Prevent Blood Clots
Some research has found that drinking red wine may decrease platelet aggregation, which can also help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Platelets are tiny cells in our blood that bind together around damaged blood vessels when we become injured. This clotting is what stops us from bleeding and helps us heal when we get a minor cut.
However, when platelets aggregate too much, they can form blood clots. Blood clots are serious because they can block the flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs, increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
By reducing the stickiness of the platelets in your blood, red wine can help prevent blood clots and reduce your risk for health complications. For example, a 2002 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine measured platelet aggregation levels in male volunteers after moderate wine consumption and found they were significantly inhibited.
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Is It Ok To Drink Wine With High Cholesterol
Alcohol, including wine consumption is typical in some regions of the world. Taking alcoholic beverages in moderation in fact, is believed to be able to lower the level of cholesterol in our body. Alcohol consumption which does not exceed two drinks per day for men and one drink for women is indeed considered beneficial in lowering cholesterol level. This is because when alcohol is consumed in moderation, it is going to elevate the level of good cholesterolHDL in our blood, while excessive drinking might lead into the increasing level of both triglycerides and bad cholesterolLDL in the bloodstream.
Wine, an alcoholic drink made of fermented grapes is said to be the beneficial alcoholic drink for our body. Red wine, specifically, is believed to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease due to non-alcoholic compoundsthe tannins it contains. Hence, many people believe that drinking red wine will not give a bad effect on your cholesterol level and heart, while in fact, this is not entirely reasonable.
If you insist on drinking wine with your high level of cholesterol:
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ADA Guidelines on Alcohol & Blood Sugar
The American Diabetes Association does have guidelines regarding alcohol and blood sugar and how alcohol affects blood sugar. Some of their recommendations include:
- The advice when it comes to alcohol and blood sugar is no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- If you have diabetes, you shouldnt drink when your blood sugar levels are low or you have an empty stomach.
- People with diabetes shouldnt count the calories in an alcoholic drink as a carbohydrate choice in their meal plan.
- Certain types of alcoholic beverages may be more detrimental for people with diabetes, including heavy craft beers.
The amount of carbs and sugar varies in every alcohol, so its important to pay attention to labels and serving sizes when considering safe alcohol and blood sugar practices.
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Myth: Red Wine Is Good For Everyone
Fact: Women and men experience alcohol differently, so they should consume it differently. One glass of wine per day is plenty for women, while men shouldnt drink more than two glasses a day.
We still dont really know if red wine is good for heart health. Until theres more information available, its best to drink moderately and talk to your doctor. For information about other heart-healthy practices, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.
How Red Wine Affects Blood Sugar
According to the , drinking red wine or any alcoholic beverage can lower blood sugar for up to 24 hours. Because of this, they recommend checking your blood sugar before you drink, while you drink, and monitoring it for up to 24 hours after drinking.
Intoxication and low blood sugar can share many of the same symptoms, so failing to check your blood glucose could cause others to assume youre feeling the effects of an alcoholic beverage when in reality your blood sugar may be reaching dangerously low levels.
Theres another reason to be mindful of your blood sugar levels while drinking: Some alcoholic beverages, including drinks that use juice or a mixer high in sugar, can increase blood sugar.
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