Cholesterol is one of these weird things that until about twenty years ago no-one bothered about. However, over the past few years many of us have been told that we need to reduce our cholesterol levels. To confuse matters more there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol but doctors will normally refer to an overall figure.
It is important to keep the cholesterol levels within safe limits, and even more important if there is a history of heart problems.
In the United States cholesterol figures are based on milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dl) of blood. The figure which should be aimed for is 200 mg/dl which is the preferred level. If the figure is up to 239 mg/dl that is a little high and over 240 mg/dl is too high.
Most European countries accept that a good overall cholesterol figure is 5.2 millimoles per liter. Anything above 6.0 is considered to be high and requires medical intervention.
Red Wine and how it can Improve Cholesterol Levels
I only mention the European figures because I had a problem with cholesterol levels and mine escalated to 9.8 for no particular reason. The doctors tried giving me cholesterol reducing tablets which caused a problem with other tablets and I was, after a short time, taken off them.
I didn’t drink much wine until one day the doctor suggested that I tried a couple of glasses of red wine every evening to see if it would help. As instructed I did imbibe two glasses of red wine from my lovely wine decanters during the course of each evening and after four weeks the doctor checked the levels again, and they had reduced to 8.2 mmol/l. This was the only difference I had made. I didn’t change my diet at all – I eat fairly healthily anyway. After six months my cholesterol had reduced to 4.8 mmol/l which was absolutely fantastic.
A moderate intake of wine does help to protect against heart disease. Some of the benefits come from the ethyl alcohol content, but antioxidants and flavonoids will also assist.
Alcohol may prevent or reduce blood platelets from sticking together. This may then reduce the chances of clots forming which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. No-one is sure whether wine alone reduces the risk or if it’s a combination of the wine plus a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Obviously, if those people during clinical trials also ate quantities of fruit and vegetables and lower saturated fat these are factors which also reduce the risk of heart problems.
Everything in Moderation
Although a moderate amount of alcohol can assist in reducing cholesterol levels there is caution which needs to be taken. Overdoing the recommended daily amounts of alcohol can cause liver damage and of course, wine is a source of extra calories which should be saved elsewhere.
Make sure that plenty of fruits like blueberries and grapes are eaten regularly. If you are at risk of heart problems or stroke your doctor will probably have suggested a daily aspirin tablet and you should always consult your doctor before deciding to drink wine to reduce cholesterol.