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5 Worst Drinks That Can Increase Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Plus, one beverage you should be drinking more.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham

If you want to live a long and healthy life, it's absolutely crucial that you take good care of your heart. Roughly 805,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year; that's one heart attack every 40 seconds. And while there is no guarantee that you won't experience a heart attack at some point in your life no matter your lifestyle, there are some changes you can make to help decrease your risk.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. The cause of that blockage is primarily due to a buildup of fatty deposits, including harmful cholesterol (known as LDL), that ultimately form plaque. This buildup is known as atherosclerosis and can cause your arteries to narrow and harden, ultimately inhibiting blood flow. Heart attack is often a result of heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease (CAD).

RELATED: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

According to the CDC, about 1 in every 5 heart attacks are silent. This means that about 20% of individuals who have a heart attack won't even know they had one, but the damage can still be harmful. Even though our heart health isn't completely in our control, there are a few elements that are. One component, for example, that plays an enormous role in overall heart health is diet—which includes beverages. When it comes to diet we oftentimes don't think about the things we're drinking as much as we think about the things we're eating.

Below, we've consulted with a medical doctor to identify five beverages you should steer clear of or enjoy only in moderation to keep your heart healthy, plus one you should be drinking more of to help promote heart health.


soda glasses

This one is probably not all that surprising. It's soda's high sugar content that poses a threat.

"Research has found that sugary drinks may increase the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks," says Cedrina Calder, MD, and board-certified preventive medicine doctor based in Nashville, Tennessee. "A recent study showed that people who drank more than 12 ounces of soda a day had abnormal levels of blood fats that increase heart disease risk."

The main takeaway? Limiting your soda consumption, as well as other sugary beverages, may be crucial for heart health.


coffee cups

There is absolutely such a thing as drinking too much coffee. Even though drinking one cup of coffee a day has been shown to lower your risk of heart failure, you could be setting yourself up for significant heart complications by going overboard with your morning caffeine fix.

A recent study found that individuals who drink six cups of coffee a day or more can increase the lipids (fats) found in the blood, which may increase the risk of heart disease. So, if you're the type that can finish an entire pot of coffee by yourself and then go for another, consider switching to an herbal tea to preserve your heart health.

Energy Drinks

monster worst energy drink

Have you ever looked at a canned energy drink and thought there's no way this could be good for me? Oftentimes the containers themselves even look a little scary, right? And what's inside is even more dangerous.

"Energy drinks can increase the risk of heart disease by increasing blood pressure and causing abnormal heart rhythms," says Calder. So, if you thought that these drinks just gave you that quick energy boost with no strings attached, know that isn't necessarily true. However, it's important to note that these adverse symptoms are usually seen "in people who either drink large amounts of energy drinks in a short period of time or who consume them with alcohol or other substances," Calder adds.


old fashioned cocktail

Speaking of alcohol, you may not have realized that those who drink it are more at risk of developing heart issues than those who don't. Excessive drinking can lead to many health issues, one of which is heart conditions. Though this is the case for both men and women, studies have shown that women who drink regularly are at a much higher risk to develop heart disease than men who drink regularly. Like coffee, drinking alcohol in moderation is fine, but drinking too much of the stuff is where the problems begin to arise.


Photo: Shutterstock

There are two components to these frothy drinks that make them dangerous for heart attacks: sugar and saturated fat.

"Some research even suggests that just one high-fat meal can trigger heart disease in some people," says Calder. That means you may want to reconsider reaching for that milkshake the next time you're at a diner—even if it's just a once-a-week type of treat.

RELATEDSecret Effects of Drinking Green Tea, Says Science

Looking for a new drink that'll put you on the right track? Try green tea!

Brew green tea

Okay, so we just told you all the drinks you should probably remove from your diet, but what should you replace them with? Our recommendation is green tea. Not only can green tea help repair the damage done from cardiac events, including stroke and heart attack, but the additional benefits associated with the beverage are numerous.

Rachel Linder
Rachel is an Associate Editor responsible for compiling the daily Eat This, Not That! newsletter, making TikTok and YouTube videos for the brand, writing articles for the site, creating original graphics and providing direct assistance to the editors when needed. Read more about Rachel