February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually. Fortunately, there are things you can do to become more heart healthy!
Most of us know that eating right is one way to help keep your heart healthy, but did you know that what you drink is also an important factor? Here are some of the heart healthiest beverages available, many of which you drink on a daily basis anyway!
Many of us need our coffee in the morning to give us a jolt of energy to help keep us going throughout the day. Did you know that drinking coffee is associated with cardiovascular benefits? In fact, studies cited 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. 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.
If you drink alcohol — including red wine — do so in moderation. Men 65 and older should limit their alcohol use to no more than a single drink per day.
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. Iced or hot, tea is a healthy, no-calorie brew as long as you don’t add cream or sugar. If you’re caffeine-sensitive and enjoy black or green tea, drink it earlier in the day (before noon) and limit to three cups or less.
100% Grape Juice
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.
Including the drinks above in your diet can be part of a heart healthy diet. You can also dramatically reduce your chances of heart disease or a heart attack by following healthy lifestyle habits. Pay attention to good habits and incorporate them into your lifestyle and your heart health will be the best it can be for you.
If want to get a physical to ensure your blood pressure is normal and your heart is healthy or if you get sick, please call us at Prosperity Internal Medicine at 703-876-9300 for an appointment. Our group uses the latest advances in medicine, offering our patients access to innovative health management technologies, proactive team-based care, and an evidenced-based, patient-centered approach.