With February comes Heart Month- that’s why we’d like to share some facts with you to help keep your heart in the best shape it can be. This week, we’d like to cover something that seemingly most people glance over. When most people think about heart health, they usually think about exercise and watching the food they eat, but a lot of times forget about what they drink. Beverages are an instrumental part of your diet which means that it’s also an instrumental part in maintaining your heart health as well.
Water is the best way to go
Water, while as boring as it may seem, is the obvious choice for heart health. Water is used for your blood, removes toxins and waste from your body, and doesn’t come with any unwanted, unhealthy additives such as sugar which can harm your heart health. Drinking water consistently is key to maintaining your heart health, especially if you’re also exercising to keep your heart in shape. There have been claims about certain amounts of water that everyone needs to drink per day such as ‘8 glasses of water.’ However, everybody is different from each other and the amount of water you really need is based on you. The best way to tell how much water you need is to simply check the color of your urine. The goal is to aim for clear to light yellow whereas any of the darker shades of yellow means that you’re dehydrated and you need to drink more water.
If not water, then what?
Water can get pretty boring, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t drink other drinks without forsaking your heart-healthy diet. Beverages such as tea can help with fortifying your heart with healthy compounds that reduce inflammation and help with cellular repair. Certain types of tea have been associated with lower risks of stroke and heart attacks. Something that you probably already consume is coffee, which has been associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease. With coffee, however, it’s important to know that caffeine is only good in moderation and that a healthy level of coffee consumption is around two to three cups a day. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter and refreshing, smoothies are a great way to fulfill those needs. Chock full of antioxidants and vitamins, smoothies are a great way to support heart health. Just make sure that your smoothies keep away from the one thing you want to avoid- sugar.
What to avoid
Sugary drinks are the leading contributor to people’s sugar intake per day. With drinks like soda and energy drinks, with the added downside of caffeine way above the daily levels of healthy, the consumption of beverages like these with large amounts of sugar have been seen to lead to higher chances of heart failure. These sugary drinks are also loaded with calories, leading to weight gain which also negatively affects your heart health. Alcohol is also something to avoid largely, but can be healthy under moderation. Consuming around a drink or so of your liquor of choice is relatively fine but anything more could lead to some trouble later on down the road.
Maintaining heart health is a tough job. There’s dietary restrictions, exercise requirements, and just a whole deal of effort and discipline needed to stay on track. While it may be difficult, it’s important to understand that your heart health is key to maintaining a long, healthy life. Sacrifices today lead to a better tomorrow, so keep on that grind and stay heart healthy.
Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern