Whether you’re meeting up with pals for a drink, hosting a barbecue with the family, or just unwinding at the end of a long work day with a glass of wine, most adults can enjoy alcohol in moderation. However, as you get older, you may consider your heart health more and question whether drinking is compatible with a healthy diet.
Of course, each person has their own particular health concerns regarding their heart and disease prevention, and you should always visit your doctor to consider your unique health history and risks. However, there are some broad ideas that everyone should consider when it comes to cardiovascular health and alcohol, such as how much extra sugar or fat is in the beverage, the number of drinks you’re having, and how often you drink.
To learn more, we spoke with Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, a member of our Medical professional Board, about the worst alcoholic beverages for your heart.
1 — Rum and Coke
“Any beverage with carbonated water is going to be harmful to your heart,” warns Young. “Data from several studies have linked soda drinking with an increased risk of heart disease and mortality.”
In fact, a recent French research has found that people who drank diet or regular soda on a daily basis had an increased risk of stroke and other heart ailments than those who didn’t consume it.
If you drink sugar-sweetened beverages like Coca-Cola or Diet Coke on a regular basis, limiting your consumption of soda-mixed alcoholic drinks may be beneficial to your heart long term.
2 — Piña Colada
“These are made with pineapple juice, rum, coconut cream and coconut milk, and not only do they contain high amounts of sugar but the coconut cream is also high in saturated fat,” Young explains.
Although coconut-based items are frequently assumed to be healthier, if you’re concerned with your heart health, it’s critical to drink coconut cream and oil in moderation. That’s due to the fact that its saturated fat content is higher, and when consumed in large amounts on a regular basis, saturated fat has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and contribute to heart issues. Over time, greater LDL cholesterol may cause cardiac problems.
3 — Long Island Iced Tea
“Long Island Iced Teas, on the other hand, are high in sugar and calories,” says Lisa Young. “They contain a mixture of alcohols along with cola, syrup, and sweet and sour mix. The blend of sugar, alcohol, and high-calorie contents is unhealthy for your heart.”
If you’re searching for a beverage that’s easy to drink and yet has some punch, combine bourbon or tequila with carbonated water and a couple of lime slices. A Paloma, which is simply made out of tequila, grapefruit juice, and lime juice, is another option.
Although Long Island Iced Teas are delicious and will certainly get you tipsy a lot faster than most cocktails, the extra sugar combined with alcohol isn’t always worth it.