The #1 Worst Drink for Your Heart, Says Dietitian
There are plenty of things you can do on a daily basis to care for your heart health. You may decide to exercise a bit more, try regulating your stress levels, get better sleep, or change up your diet to include more heart-healthy foods.
These steps are all valuable, especially because there isn't a one-step solution for caring for your heart health. And if you're someone who is taking these brave steps toward better health, you may also want to try avoiding certain foods and drinks that can negatively impact your journey to a happy heart.
For example, according to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, energy drinks are some of the worst drinks you can have for your heart.
Why energy drinks are harmful for heart health
"Of all the beverages that are potentially detrimental to heart health, energy drinks are at the top of the list," says Best, "and this is because while caffeine can be heart-healthy when consumed in moderation, these beverages can get up to 300 milligrams of caffeine in just one serving."
For one, too much caffeine can exacerbate heart palpitations and symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart. If you're someone who is already prone to a racing heart, drinking energy drinks can lead to uncomfortable palpitations. Cleveland Clinic notes that "while they aren't usually dangerous, they can be alarming."
Excess caffeine can also have more harmful side effects as well. "It can, unfortunately, place an individual in atrial fibrillation, result in high blood pressure, and even lead to heart attack and stroke in some cases," says Best.
The increase in blood pressure with too much caffeine can be small, but if you're someone who already has high blood pressure or other heart problems, this can have a negative impact on your heart health.
Another potential side effect
Drinking too much caffeine from an energy drink can also have a diuretic effect on your body, which means that you have to urinate more than usual. Best warns that this combined with the fact that people sometimes drink these instead of water, you may become dehydrated without realizing it.
And unfortunately, "the heart of a dehydrated individual must work harder due to less blood circulating through the body," says Best.
If you're someone who already struggles with high blood pressure or other heart complications, you may want to avoid energy drinks or consuming too much caffeine. If you're still wanting a boost of energy during your day, you can check out our list of The Best Energy Drinks of 2021 in order to choose one that has lower levels of caffeine.