Wellness Wednesdays: How everyday beverages are hurting your heart

From energy drinks to sugar-packed sodas, coffee to sports drinks, there are an endless amount of beverage options on the market. But over the years, manufacturers have developed different ways to appeal to its consumers and beverage options have only gotten more and more abundant. It’s a trend that has become a concern for both parents and health professionals alike.

“When I was growing up, there were limited options to quench your thirst. Especially for kids, but even for adults, there were only a few choices,” explains Dr. Karen Latimer to AOL Lifestyle. “From a health standpoint, it is important to pay particular attention to what we drink.”

Because of the calories, amount of sugar and low nutritional value, the ingredients included in these beverages have been found to be “sneaky bad” for our bodies, working against weight loss, shrinking our immune system and even harming our hearts. The list can go on. 

Consumers should be extra vigilant about which types of drinks they’re putting in their bodies and its effects. For example, while studies have found that one to two cups of coffee a day may be beneficial for your heart, adding in cream and sugar can easily negate the positive effects of the drink.

As for energy drinks, which may seem like a convenient pick-me-up for consumers, its effect on blood pressure, blood vessel function and irregular heartbeat make it a dangerous drink of choice.

“When you’re at the store, standing in front of the refrigerator, paralyzed by the many choices including those claiming to be good for you, read the labels,” Latimer concludes. “Quenching your thirst with water is definitely kinder to your heart. Think before you drink.” 

Watch the video above to learn more about how these popular beverages may be detrimental to your heart.

RELATED: Sticking to a heart-healthy diet 6 PHOTOSHow to stick to a heart-healthy dietSee GalleryHow to stick to a heart-healthy diet

1. Addition and substitution (not deprivation)

"Yes, you should avoid foods high in unhealthy fats and sugar," says Latimer. "But instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can enjoy. 

2. Increase fiber in your diet without supplements

Fruits, vegetables and beans are packed with fiber with whole grains: Steel cut oats and berries for breakfast, brown rice, beans and vegetables for lunch and dinner.

3. Try this perfect heart healthy lunch

A salad with leafy greens, tomatoes, salmon and a little olive oil. Kale and spinach are also high in vitamin K and will help boost your heart health. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of antioxidants, while salmon is packed with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Toss in avocado (for blood pressure and fiber) for a filling and healthy meal. 

Olive oil is a good fat and has been shown to reduce cholesterol 

4. Nuts make the perfect snack 

Snack on walnuts, almonds and peanuts which are filled with omega-3s, fibers and vitamin E to lower cholesterol and decrease risk for clots. 

5. Keep fruits and veggies on-hand for easy access

A full fridge can reduce your cravings and mindless eating. A cup of anti-inflammatory green tea once a day can also do wonders. 

6. Moderate intake of red wine

Some studies prove red wine, dark chocolate and coffee have been linked to better heart health. Cheers! 

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