You probably know that eating right can help keep your heart healthy, but did you know that what you drink might also keep your ticker in shape too? Here are some of the heart healthiest beverages, all backed by significant science:
Though once considered a vice, we now know that drinking coffee is associated with many health “perks” – including cardiovascular benefits. A review of 36 studies in the journal Circulation found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had a significantly lower risk of heart disease. Other studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking (about four cups a day) is also linked to a lower risk of stroke and heart failure.
Heart-smart ways to enjoy: More is not necessarily better when it come to coffee. Three to five cups per day shows heart and other health benefits. Beyond that, some people feel jittery or may have problems sleeping. Keep in mind that a “cup” is eight ounces — so your Starbucks Venti (20 ounces) is already 2 ½ cups. And make sure you’re keeping your coffee heart-healthy by limiting creamers high in saturated fat and sugar.
In recent years, some studies have linked moderate alcohol intake with a decrease in heart disease. Researchers believe that compounds found in red wine known as polyphenols may help reduce inflammation and improve circulation.
Heart-smart ways to enjoy: If you drink alcohol — including red wine — do so in moderation. Moderate drinking means an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is one 12 ounces beer, 4 ounces wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.) Men 65 and older should limit their alcohol use to no more than a single drink per day. Age-related changes, including a diminished ability to metabolize alcohol, make higher amounts risky regardless of gender.
There’s a lot of evidence brewing that tea may help boost heart health.
That’s because tea — green or black — is a good source of compounds known as catechins and epicatechins, part of a group of plant chemicals called flavonoids. Studies indicate that flavonoids may help reduce inflammation, and that in turn may reduce plaque buildup inside arteries.
Heart-smart ways to enjoy: Iced or hot, tea is a healthy, no-calorie brew as long as you don’t add cream or sugar. Both black and green tea have moderate amounts of caffeine, ranging from about 20 mg to 45 mg per eight ounce cup. That’s roughly half the amount of caffeine as you’d find in 8 ounces of coffee. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, drink tea earlier in the day (before noon) and limit to three cups or less.
100% Grape Juice made with Concord Grapes
Don’t want to drink wine to enjoy heart health benefits? No problem! The dark purple Concord grape in 100% grape juice provides powerful plant polyphenols; in fact 100% grape juice made from this special grape delivers many of the same polyphenols and heart-health benefits as red wine, and it can help promote healthy circulation.
Heart-smart ways to enjoy: The Concord grape is hard to find fresh, but you can enjoy 100% grape juice made with this American superfruit all year. It’s delightful on its own, mixed with seltzer as a spritzer, or as a ‘mocktail’. One of my favorites ways to enjoy is with this Concord Grape Virgin Sangria. It’s delicious, easy to make, and perfect for any occasion.