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Drinks To Avoid During the Holidays if You Have High Blood Pressure

You may want to limit the drinks that are loaded with added sugar, sodium, caffeine, or alcohol.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

The holidays can be a tricky time to navigate if you have high blood pressure. While it is natural to want to indulge in all of the classic treats and noshes, people who are managing their blood pressure know that they need to keep an eye on their salt and sugar intake in order to keep their blood pressure in check.

When managing blood pressure, one of the most tried-and-true diets to follow is the DASH diet, which is a diet that is not only rich in fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, but also focuses on the micronutrients calcium, magnesium, and potassium. And when it comes to drinks, alcohol recommendations include two or fewer drinks per day for men, and one or fewer for women.

If you are spending your holidays with your in-laws who may bring up too many political topics, or you are pulling your hair out just trying to keep up with all of your holiday plans, a boozy drink or a caffeinated boost may be top-of-mind. But to manage blood pressure, too much alcohol or caffeine is a no-go. And if you are a lover of sugary or salty drinks, you may need to think twice about what you are putting in your cup as well.

Of course, there is no need to do without a festive and delicious drink that you know and love over the holiday season. But, if you have high blood pressure, here are some drinks that you may want to limit if you are focused on keeping your blood pressure level in check.

Egg Nog

The quintessential holiday drink is made with egg yolks, sugar, whole milk, heavy cream, and usually alcohol. While the DASH diet does permit dairy foods, it specifies low-fat options as the best choice, which would not include something like heavy cream. Added sugar can elevate blood pressure as well, making egg nog one of the worst drinks to enjoy during the holidays.

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Sugary Seasonal Coffee Drinks

seasonal latte

Many holiday coffee drinks are loaded with sugar and fat. Take the Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, for example.

"With 380 milligrams of sodium in a 16-ounce size, this Toasted White Chocolate Mocha contributes to 1/5 of the American Heart Association's recommended daily intake," says Carly Fenimore, MS, RD, LDN, owner of Fertility RD.

"Add on the 420 calories, equivalent to a small meal, topped off with the 10 grams of saturated fat (50% of recommended daily intake), and 55 grams of sugar (double the recommended daily serving for women, 19 grams above the allowance for men), this beverage is not adding much holiday cheer to anyone's blood pressure and overall health," she explains.

Why do these ingredients matter? "Both sugar and caffeine can temporary affect your blood pressure and cause high readings," says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, board certified sports dietitian.

Hot Buttered Rum

Drinking a beverage made of real melted butter isn't ideal for people focusing on their heart health. Add some booze into the mix and this drink, while rich and delicious, may become to high in saturated fat and alcohol content for people watching their blood pressure.

Data shows that increased consumption of butter is associated with significantly higher blood pressure, making this drink one to skip over the holidays.

Creamy Espresso Martini

espresso martini

The trendy drink making its way around social media may look pretty, but since it has added sugars, caffeine, and cream, it is made with the trifecta of drink ingredients to avoid for blood pressure management. You are better off enjoying a small cup of coffee as a night cap instead. Sprinkle some cinnamon and cocoa on top of your coffee for a bit of added coziness.

Holiday Punch

For some, having a holiday party without a huge bowl of holiday punch is unthinkable. Oftentimes made with super-sugary ingredients and a ton of booze, drinking this punch may add too much added sugar for those with high blood pressure to tolerate without feeling the effects.

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Energy Drinks

The holidays can be a fun time for many, but they can also be hectic and draining. For people who are running on fumes while trying to wrap presents, do all of their holiday baking, and sign all of their holiday cards, an energy drink may sound like just what the doctor ordered.

But, excessive caffeine may have negative effects on blood pressure for those with existing hypertension. And the added sugar found in many energy drinks won't do you any favors in the blood pressure department either. You are better off allowing yourself to take a mid-day nap if you need an energy boost.

Bloody Mary

Holiday brunches and Bloody Marys go hand-in-hand. But classic versions of this drink are incredibly high in sodium, which is one mineral that is known to elevate blood pressure. You may be better off enjoying a mimosa made with 100% orange juice as a brunch cocktail. In fact, data shows that orange juice may be linked to better blood pressure outcomes, in part, thanks to the plant-compound that this citrus drink contains called hesperidin.

However, even though orange juice may support a blood pressure-healthy diet, this isn't to say you should overdo it on the mimosas on a regular basis. It's still important to take into consideration how alcohol and added sugar may impact your heart health over time.

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren