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    Aug 2011

    6 Drinks That Fight Heart Disease

    Heart disease may be partly genetic, but it's also largely preventable. We've all heard the same sage advice: To keep your heart healthy, you should eat well and exercise regularly. But those aren't the only lifestyle tweaks you can make. What you drink makes a difference, too. Here's a short list of sipping suggestions that'll help keep your heart health on track.
    1. Coffee

    Here's a surprising fact: Coffee registers more antioxidant activity than cocoa or tea -- both of which get significant billing for their antioxidant levels. In addition to being a rich source of antioxidants, coffee has another thing going for it: It's widely available almost everywhere, which means you can quaff it regularly.

    Moderate drinkers may enjoy heart-protective effects thanks to the antioxidants in coffee, which appear to inhibit inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. One large, long-term study of more than 83,000 women demonstrated a 20 percent lower risk of stroke in those who drank at least two cups of coffee daily as compared to non-coffee drinkers and those with a lower intake.

    Sipping suggestion: Aim for moderate coffee consumption, which ranges from two to four cups per day. Drink less if you experience insomnia, restlessness, or fatigue.
    2. Pomegranate juice

    Until recently, pomegranate juice was a specialty item, but these days it seems to be everywhere. Its popularity has captivated nutritional researchers. University of California researchers measured the antioxidant capacity of pomegranate juice at up to three times that of red wine or green tea, and preliminary research suggests that regular consumption of pomegranate juice may lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque (a risk factor for heart disease), and increase blood flow to the heart.

    Sipping suggestion: Drink fresh pomegranate juice whenever possible. Reconstituted versions are good, too, as long as you avoid pomegranate juice with added sweeteners.
    3. Red wine

    Red wine contains lots of cardioprotective compounds, including resveratrol, a polyphenol found in grapes that becomes highly concentrated during the winemaking process (which is why red wine wins over grape juice). Resveratrol has antioxidant properties and is thought to protect the blood vessels in the heart and help prevent blood clots from forming. There's also some evidence that suggests moderate consumption of red wine may raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

    Sipping suggestion: Moderate consumption of red wine -- no more than one 5-ounce glass for women and two for men -- is healthy for most adults.



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