Healthy Heart foods and beverages are an integral and absolutely essential part of our diet. Heart healthy drinks are especially important. We have to drink to survive. Staying hydrated is as important as keeping energy levels supplied by eating. If you walk in to any supermarket you will be stuck for choice over which beverage to choose and choosing the best healthy beverage can be a challenge. Beverages affect our well being and contribute to a healthy heart and body. Like anything we put in our bodies there’s the really good stuff, the not so good stuff and the OMG stay away from me if you know what is good for you stuff. Here are 10 Top Beverages to Help You Keep a Healthy Heart and to hopefully help you make the right decision next time you reach for a drink.
Water is totally fat free and contains no calories making it the perfect healthy drink. It is also free of added chemicals and preservatives and provides 100% hydration. It is recommended that you drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. If plain water is a bit too boring for you, adding a slices of lime or lemon will change the taste completely and add a bit more flavour to the beverage. This also increases the vitamin content of the drink. Another alternative is flavoured water, but you must check the contents as many of these are high in sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Calcium is a vital part of your diet to protect your bones and teeth. Most people nowadays don’t consume enough calcium, thinking they get enough for a few cups of coffee a day. Milk is a good source of calcium; skimmed low fat milk and soy milk are the best types of milk to maintain a healthy heart. Lactose-intolerants can try goat’s milk which is now more widely available. Some soy milk contains calcium enriched versions, watch out for these.
3. Whole Fruit Juice
There are many different types of fruit juices in supermarkets, from 100% pure fruit juice to fruit juices that contain added sugar and sweeteners. Make sure you choose the healthy option of 100% whole fruit juice. It is recommended that you have a glass of fruit juice a day to receive your daily dose of vitamin C amongst other vitamins. People with high cholesterol need not worry, there are also sterol-fortified fruit juices that will help with high cholesterol, and it will also help to reduce inflammation which will also help prevent heart problems.
Tea can help maintain a healthy heart in many different ways. It can prevent the cause of some cancers, heart disease and strokes. A study in 2001 was conducted to prove this theory, 10 follow up studies also took place and findings show when 3 cups of tea were drunk a day it reduced the risk of a heart attack by 11%. There are several ways tea can be purchased and consumed; from the comforting mug of warm tea to the refreshment of iced tea. If you purchase readymade bottled tea from a supermarket take the unsweetened option. Why not check out the amazing ranges of fruit and herbal teas too.
5. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are the lower calorie option compared to fruit juice and soda, however they do not have the nutritional content of milk and fruit juice. If you are having an exercise session that is going to last more than 60 minutes, don’t load up on sports drinks. Water is still the best option for prolonged workouts.
Coffee is not the best option for a healthy heart. It is ok on its own but if it is full of sugar, sweeteners, milk or cream it is not providing anything of nutritional value even if it does taste good. The average creamy coffee varies from 300-500 calories per cup so save them for an occasional treat.
Alcohol can be misleadingly very high in calories. High calorie alcoholic drinks include wine, beer and Alco pops. If you want a lower calorie alcoholic drink try vodka with lime and soda or gin and slim line tonic. Remember, a lower calorie spirit with a mixer full of sugar is no great benefit.
8. Soft Drinks
Research suggests soda drinks have certain vitamin deficiencies meaning soda drinkers aren’t getting the nutritional content a healthy heart needs. They are lacking vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and calcium. You really should limit the intake of soda drinks as they contain high amounts of sugar and are not very healthy – even the reduced calorie versions. See next point.
9. Diet Soda
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking the diet soda is good for you because it contains also no calories and no sugars. Low calorie sodas are the best option when dieting or if you like to drink soda regularly but, the artificial sweeteners they contain are not particularly conducive to a healthy heart so intake should still be limited.
10. Energy Drinks
Excessive reliance on energy drinks is not good as they contain lots of sugar and caffeine as well as herbal extracts. Along with keeping you alert, the ingredients combine to make your heart beat faster, putting you at risk of health issues.
There are loads of nutritional beverages to choose from to maintain a healthy heart. A few healthy heart drinks I recommend are; hot water with a slice of lime or lemon, green tea and homemade iced tea. Healthy beverages have many benefits; they are low in calories, contain vitamins and nutrients and help keep you in tip-top condition. Next time you visit a supermarket which of the 10 Top Beverages to Help You Keep a Healthy Heart will you choose?
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