Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death globally. According to the CDC, in the United States alone, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. As dismal as these statistics may be, the tide is turning. Fortunately, it is possible to lessen the odds of developing heart disease with the help of readily available resources and information.
Become proactive in maintaining a healthy heart. Accurate information is the first step to achieving better heart health. For instance, do you know that you can make life choices that will significantly benefit heart health? These life choices can start with what you eat and drink.
Keep reading to learn more about how what you drink may have a direct effect on your heart.
A sweet drink is a tasty treat, but there is a link between sugar and cardiovascular disease. This is because the high amount of sugar in soft drinks can make you gain weight. In fact, most regular soft drinks have 10 teaspoons of sugar in one can.
Depending on how much soda you drink, weight gain can turn into obesity. Obesity is linked to several heart disease risk factors, which include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Soft drinks may seem like a harmless treat but be careful. Limit them to no more than seven 8oz servings per week.
Fruit juice does provide more nutrition than soft drinks. Even so, it can have high sugar content too. For example, both fruit juice and cola contain about eight teaspoons of sugar per serving. At this level, the heart-related risks are the same.
If you are a fruit lover, you can still enjoy the taste without added sugar. Eating fresh fruit is a healthier choice for heart fitness. However, if you drink fruit juice, use the same restraint as you do with soft drinks.
A hot cup of coffee in the morning can be the best part of the day. Coffee in itself does not pose a heart risk. Some findings, including a study by the American Heart Association publication Circulation Heart Failure, suggest that drinking coffee in moderation may even reduce heart attack risk.
This is not to suggest that you can drink coffee without restriction. More than five cups a day can raise cholesterol levels and lead to serious cardiovascular issues. More often, what is added to a cup of coffee is the culprit.
Coffeehouse-style beverages can be problematic if you drink them too often because your favorite delicious brew could be loaded with cream and sugar. A fat and sugar overload can raise blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
Embellishments in your coffee, like chocolate, raise the bar further. These concoctions add 50 or more grams of sugar and about 20g of fat per cup. They are also loaded with calories. Keep this in mind if you do choose to indulge.
Having a drink at the end of a hard day does not necessarily result in heart disease. A glass of wine or a cocktail could be the relaxation you need. In fact, moderate alcohol consumption may raise your good cholesterol slightly, and red wine contains antioxidants that protect the heart. But drinking alcohol in excess can create health issues such as:
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
This list represents potential health problems that may develop with alcohol abuse. Alcohol is not harmful if you exercise self-control. Additionally, people with health conditions such as liver disease may not be able to drink any form of alcohol. Consult your doctor to ensure you don’t have a condition that prohibits you from drinking.
Cheers to Your Health
This article is not intended to imply that you have to be thirsty to remain heart-healthy. On the contrary, hydration is a vital part of your heart health. Drink plenty of water whether you drink other beverages or not. Feel free to experiment with other heart-healthy beverages if you want more variety.
Try adding a few lemon slices or mint sprigs to your water for more flavors. Juice your favorite vegetables, make smoothies using oat or almond milk and add fruit low in sugar, like strawberries. If you look for ways to drink a toast to your heart health, you will find them.