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The Worst Drinking Habits for High Cholesterol After 50, Say Experts

As you get older, avoid these habits to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

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.

Drinking excess amounts of alcohol

alcoholic beverages

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.'"

Too many sugary drinks

orange soda

Sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and processed juices should always be consumed in moderation, but even more so into your 50s and if you are at risk for high cholesterol.

"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."

Drinking Habits That Help With High Cholesterol

Not drinking enough water

glass of water

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.

"The body needs a decent amount of water for metabolism functions and other processes," says Rios. "Staying well hydrated can help reduce your risk of high cholesterol."

What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Drinking Water

Too many fancy coffee drinks

Starbucks frappuccino

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.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha