This Morning: Expert on eggs reducing risk of heart disease

Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, mentioned there are a number drinks that can worsen heart disease. Her first warning was of sugary drinks. Dr Lee explained: “Energy drinks, fruit drinks, cordials, sodas, and flavoured milks are all high-sugar drinks. In one 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis, high sugar-sweetened beverage consumption increased the risk of stroke by 13 percent and heart attack by 22 percent.”

There is a limitation to the research, however, as the authors recognised that people who consumed such drinks might have other health conditions impacting cardiovascular risk.

Expanding on sugary energy drinks, Dr Lee said: “The safety of energy drinks has not been well established.

“Energy drinks often contain caffeine, sugar, taurine, vitamin B and ginseng, most of which have not been well-researched.”

Dr Lee added: “The effects of alcohol on the heart are harmful, especially when it is consumed regularly at more than 10g of ethanol per day.”

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Alcohol not only raises blood pressure, the substance is “toxic to cardiac muscle cells and can damage the heart”.

By consuming alcohol, you are also consuming empty calories that can contribute to obesity.

“There is no safe level of alcohol intake and for the best health outcomes, we should all be minimising our alcohol consumption or being abstinent,” said Dr Lee.

Drinks that could be harmful for patients who have heart disease:

  • Sugary drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Alcohol.

As for beverages that could be good for your heart, Dr Lee recommends water, coffee, tea, and vegetable juice.

“To stay well hydrated we all need to drink two litres of water per day, and more in hot weather,” said Dr Lee.

Dr Lee explained: “Dehydration causes a low blood volume, meaning blood osmolality increases… [thereby increasing the tendency for a blood] clot.”

As for Coffee, Dr Lee said: “Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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“This was confirmed in a recent 2022 study, using 502,521 patients from the UK BioBank.”

How to look after your heart

The Mayo Clinic strongly recommends anybody (with or without heart disease) to cultivate and maintain healthy lifestyle habits.

Healthy habits include eating a “low-fat, low-salt diet, getting regular exercise and good sleep, and not smoking”.

It also warned: “Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, especially atherosclerosis.

“Quitting is the best way to reduce the risk of heart disease and its complications.”

For any help with quitting smoking, you can contact your local stop smoking service.

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