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Drinking Habits Science Says Help With High Cholesterol

Incorporating these habits into your routine can help get your cholesterol into healthier territory.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Having high cholesterol can make your body feel like a ticking time bomb. High cholesterol is a risk factor for both heart disease and stroke—and a shocking number of U.S. adults have cholesterol levels that may be negatively affecting their health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 94 million U.S. residents have high cholesterol, but just over half of those who might benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering drugs are currently doing so.

Luckily, even if you're not ready to add new medications to your routine, there's another way you can lower your cholesterol: by changing what you drink.

Read on to discover which drinking habits could seriously benefit your health if you have high cholesterol. And for more ways to boost your wellbeing, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Increase your water intake

drinking water

If you're struggling with high cholesterol, the solution may be as simple as adding some extra water to your regular routine.

A 2016 study published in Nutrición Hospitalaria found that, among a group of 366 school-aged children, not only was drinking more water associated with lower rates of overweight and obesity, children who drank less water than their peers had higher rates of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and lower rates of HDL, or "good," cholesterol. Higher water intake was also associated with higher levels of HDL regardless of age, sex, or overall cardiorespiratory health.

17 Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Add some orange juice to your diet

Pouring orange juice

While eating whole fruit should be the primary way to meet your daily fruit needs, making orange juice part of your regular routine may help get your cholesterol into a healthier territory.

According to a 2013 study published in Lipids in Health and Disease, long-term consumption of orange juice was associated with lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and a more favorable LDL to HDL ratio.

Replace dairy milk with soy milk

soy milk

You don't have to give up the milk in your coffee to lower your cholesterol—switching to soy may be enough to do the trick.

A 2021 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that, among adults, consumption of soy milk was associated with significant reductions in LDL cholesterol.

Drinking Habits to Avoid If You Don't Want High Cholesterol, Say Experts

Cut out those daily sodas

drinking soda

You likely know that sugar-sweetened drinks, like soda, are far from healthy, but you may not realize the havoc they're wreaking on your cholesterol levels.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with reductions in HDL, or "good," cholesterol. In fact, individuals who drank sugar-sweetened beverages on a regular basis had a 98% greater likelihood of developing low HDL cholesterol than their peers who consumed them infrequently or abstained completely.

Add some green tea to your meal plan

green tea cup

Drinking green tea doesn't just benefit your metabolism—it could help you improve your cholesterol in no time, too. A 2020 meta-analysis published in Nutrition Journal found that green tea consumption was associated with reductions in LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL cholesterol in normal weight, overweight, and obese adults.

For more ways to get your cholesterol under control, start by ditching The #1 Worst Food For High Cholesterol, According to a Dietitian, and for more healthy living tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah