Drinking Alcohol and Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a waxy type of fat found in the human body. Total cholesterol consists of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. A high cholesterol level is predictive of cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks and strokes.

HDL is often called “good cholesterol” because it removes cholesterol from cells that have accumulated too much of this substance and takes it to the liver for disposal.

LDL is often called ‘bad cholesterol” because it moves cholesterol from the liver or small intestine to newly formed or growing cells. Although this is a necessary function, too much cholesterol in the blood (serum cholesterol) can build up and stick to the walls of the arteries. This buildup is called plaque and the formation of plaque can cause narrowing and hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup can break away and cause cardiovascular disease leading to heart attacks and strokes.

The regular moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine or distilled spirits such as rum, tequila, whisky, and vodka) has proven to be a way to raise the level of good cholesterol and lower the level of bad cholesterol.

Other improvements to the diet include consuming foods low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fat and replacing them with those high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Margarine enriched with plant sterols is also a cholesterol-lowering food.

Another way to raise the level of good cholesterol and lower the level of bad cholesterol is through regular aerobic exercise. It also helps lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.

If improved diet and exercise fail to reduce cholesterol to acceptable levels, it’s wise to consult a physician.

Note: This website is informational only. It provides no suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, diet, health, or any other subject and none should be inferred.


  • Jerrod, M.S. and Libonati, R.D. Good Cholesterol, Bad Cholesterol. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2011; Ruf, J-C. Alcohol, wine and platelet function. Biological Research, 2004, 37(2), 209-215.

Filed Under: Heart

This site does not dispense medical, legal, or any other advice and none should be inferred.
For more fine print, read the disclaimer.