Although some cases of heart disease are genetic, some other risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, alcoholism, obesity, lack of physical exercise, and poor diet.
As we head into the holidays with a lot of opportunities for delicious food and drinks, we wanted to focus on how we can use our diet to help lower our risk of heart disease this year.
Continue reading to learn what she has to say about drinks you may want to avoid to reduce your risk of heart disease, and for more health tips, make sure to check out The #1 Food Putting You at Risk for Heart Disease.
Gin and tonic
According to Manaker, drinking in moderation is fairly safe, but if you're someone who drinks in excess, you may be increasing your risk of heart disease.
"Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), heart attack, and congestive heart failure (when your heart doesn't pump blood in the right way)," says Manaker.
And although she chose a very popular cocktail, gin and tonic, she emphasizes that excessive consumption of any type of alcohol can have these effects.
Fruit punch with added sugar
Another important thing to consider when it comes to heart disease is excessive amounts of added sugar in your diet.
"Although fruit punch has the word 'fruit' in it, there is typically no fruit to be found in the ingredient list of this popular drink," says Manaker, "and instead, it is usually loaded with added sugars."
In fact, Manaker cites a recent study that found women who consumed one or more sugary beverages a day were more likely to develop heart disease.
Sugar free lemonade made with artificial sweetener
"This study from the American College of Cardiology found that people who regularly drank artificially sweetened beverages (like sugar-free lemonade) had an increased risk of heart disease," says Manaker, "although it is important to note that this study showed correlation and not causation."
In other words, we can't automatically assume that something like sugar-free lemonade is going to lead to heart disease, but enough evidence proves there is a relationship between the two.
White chocolate mocha
"One grande White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks has almost 53 grams of sugar and 18 grams of fat," says Manaker, "and as we mentioned earlier, too much sugar is linked to an increased risk of heart disease."
Too much added sugar is one of the common denominators among food and drinks that lead to heart disease. When we consume an excess of added sugar, we also increase our risk of diabetes, obesity, and high blood sugar, which are all major risk factors for heart disease.
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