Are all Beverages Healthy for Heart?
Fruit Juices and milkshakes: Research has proven that fruits and vegetables are the most likely foods to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Fruits are considered to be on top of the diet list for people with heart problem or high cholesterol problem. They are rich in antioxidants, which prevent the building up of LDL cholesterol in our blood and thus delay damage to the heart. All red and yellow fruits like orange, sweet lime, papaya etc. and citrus fruits like strawberries, lemon, grapefruit etc. are rich sources of this antioxidant. So, fruit juices are the best beverages to be consumed, especially in comparison to coffee and aerated drinks, provided they are made without sugar. Also, the juices should not be strained, a common mistake most of us make, as this loses most of the fibre which actually aids in decreasing blood cholesterol levels. So do remember to say an emphatic “No” to straining.
Vegetable Soups: Soups are also good for heart as they make use of a wide variety of vegetables, which are again a rich source of Antioxidant . On top of the list are Vitamin A and Vitamin C rich Capsicum, Broccoli, Carrots, Pumpkin, Cabbage, tomatoes and all the dark green leafy vegetables.
However, in our desire to increase flavour, we often make soups unhealthy by using butter, cream, cheese etc. These ingredients are very high in calories, fat and cholesterol and do no good to your body but rather increase your weight. Instead, you should make use of flavourful herbs and spices to prepare delectable soups and salads, which are healthy, tasty and low in calories.
Alcohol: Any advice about the consumption of alcohol must take into account not only the complex relation between alcohol and cardiovascular disease but also the well-known association of heavy consumption of alcohol with a large number of general health risks. The argument for and against the consumption of alcohol as part of the ‘healthy- heart’ diet is poised on the brink. There’s still a lot that researchers don’t know and it is difficult to determine whether alcohol’s benefits outweigh its risks.
The tannin and antioxidants (phenols and flavonoids) which lend the wine and beer its colour prevent the build up of LDL cholesterol into its most noxious form and therefore moderate drinking reduces cholesterol build up, or the hardening of the arteries. Alcohol, most importantly, is also known to stimulate the liver to produce HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol and is know to protect against heart disease.
However, while you consider the potential benefits of moderate drinking, don’t forget the potential risks as well. High consumption of alcohol has been proven to damage the arteries of the heart, cause hypertension and affect your brain activity too. It also has a tendency to react with certain medications and negate their effect, thus endangering the heart.
Until researchers know more about alcohol’s positive effect on heart, your best bet is to drink in moderation occasionally… if at all! This could be about 2 drinks per week. If you do drink occasionally, consult your doctor or nutritionist and ask her to make it a part of your meal plan. Don’t feel pressured to start drinking, if you are a non-alcoholic.
Alcohol is definitely NOT an alternative to proven methods of reducing the risk of heart disease, so it is advisable to opt for other options such as increased physical activity, avoiding smoking and controlling blood cholesterol levels with a healthy diet.
Carbonated beverages: Carbonated beverages are consumed by one and all and at all times of the day. However, it is advisable for people with high blood cholesterol and heart problems to avoid carbonated beverages, as these provide no real nutrients, but only empty calories, which means they only help in weight gain. For example, one 12-oz bottle of carbonated beverage has approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar.
However, an occasional indulgence could always be compensated for. If you do get tempted to drink an aerated drink, pour it in a small glass and take small sips. Do remember to include the calories consumed here as a part of your meal that day. Try and burn out these calories through your regular exercise of that day. This way you will be able to enjoy your drink and be tuned in to your diet plan as well. Please do remember not make this a habit. Stay with the principle of moderation.
Tea and Coffee: Coffee has been one of the most controversial beverages. Caffeine, the stimulant in it, is known to energize us and keep you alert. But if you have any heart problem or are in the risk group, most doctors recommend avoiding the consumption of coffee. This is because of strong evidence that caffeine affects the functioning of the heart by increasing its contractions and altering the regularity of heartbeats. Also, coffee has been known for ages to hinder with absorption of important nutrients in our body.
Similarly, tea too has tannins, which hinder the absorption of nutrients. On the other hand, tea is also a rich source of antioxidants named flavonoids, which prevent the build up of LDL cholesterol into its most deleterious form, thus preventing the hardening of the arteries. However, a word of caution here! This beneficial effect is seen only when tea is consumed without milk and with restricted addition of sugar. Do have your ‘cuppa’ but here too, moderation is the key word and avoid the sugar as much as possible.
Other articles you will find interesting related to a Heart and Cholesterol.
Healthy Heart Foods, list of best Grains Cereals
Low Fat Dairy Products for Healthy Heart
Heart Healthy Fruits
Healthy Heart Vegetables
Which fats are good for healthy heart?
Fiber for Healthy Heart
Reduce Sugar and Salt for a Healthy Heart