Does Alcohol, Smoking, Sugar, or Salt Affect Cholesterol?

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It’s clear that lack of exercise, bad diet (low in fiber and high in saturated fats), and obesity can factor into high cholesterol. Furthermore, if you have a family history of the condition, this may also increase the risk. And for everyone, the risk increases with age. How about sugar, salt, cigarette smoking, and alcohol – do they also have an effect on blood cholesterol?

Does drinking alcohol affect your cholesterol?

Probably, it’s still OK to drink alcohol in moderation. Even this may help keep blood cholesterol on its healthy level. In particular, for red wine!

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One study showed that red wine might help protect the artery’s wall. It’s not known how this works. It’s thought that this benefits may have to do with its essential natural plant chemicals and antioxidants [1].

Another theory, drinking alcohol moderately might help improve HDL, your good cholesterol. HDL can help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol). So, more HDL in the blood is a good thing. See more how HDL controls your LDL on this section!

However, there are also some crucial issues you need to concern.

The excessive consumption of alcohol can be counterproductive. This causes increased risk of stroke, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and heart muscle disease.

Furthermore, drinking alcohol factors into a traffic accident. It also has to do with increased blood pressure.

For these reasons, still alcohol is commonly not recommended for people with high cholesterol. It is not recommended to specifically treat high cholesterol – according to the recommendation by AHA (the American Heart Association).

Instead, it’d be much better to use lifestyle approaches such as regular exercise, eating right in well-balanced diet, and maintaining your weight to keep your cholesterol off.

However if you do believe that drinking may help, discuss first with your doctor to keep safe!

According to AHA, drinking alcohol in moderation is not more than 2 glasses for men and 1 glass for women.

How about smoking? Is it bad for your cholesterol?

While the issue of drinking alcohol in moderation is still debatable, it’s clear that cigarette smoking (even for secondhand smoke) is very bad for your entire health, including on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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If you are a smoker, quitting can significantly help improve your good cholesterol (HDL) and blood pressure!

Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your blood pressure level decreases. In the next 24 hours after stopping, your risk of heart disease decreases.

And after a year of quitting, you now have a half risk of heart disease than most smokers. Then after 15 years of quitting, you have low risk of heart disease as well as in people who have never smoked.

Tobacco smoke hosts lots of harmful chemicals, which some can injury your blood vessels. Moreover, tobacco may have a role to suppress your good cholesterol, HDL — one study suggests [2]!

Does salt also affect your cholesterol?

Salt may not have a direct link to your cholesterol. But it can significantly affect your blood pressure.

The key reason is the ability of salt that can retain fluid in your body. If there are too many fluid retained by salt, the pressure inside the blood vessels increases. As a result, this leads to hypertension.

And high blood pressure is a risk factor for high cholesterol. Also, it will speed up the accumulation of fatty deposits on the artery’s walls.

In essence, a good control of blood pressure is important for your blood cholesterol. In fact, people with hypertension are likely to have high cholesterol than others.

How about sugar and high cholesterol?

Excessive sugar in the blood can also hurts you blood vessels. This may cause narrowed arteries.

In time, narrowed blood vessels may get worse, affecting blood flow. If blood doesn’t flow as well as it should, this provokes accumulation of fatty deposits on your artery’s the walls.

What’s more?

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2 Comments
  1. Mark Jefferis
    June 28, 2019 | Reply
    • Endi Ssi
      June 28, 2019 | Reply

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