Heart attack risk: The surprising drink that could improve cardiovascular health

What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

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Your heart is a vital organ that needs to be healthy to ensure your body is supplied with adequate oxygen and nutrients in all areas. Cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet aren’t the only things you can do to improve your heart health – there’s one drink you can consume on a regular basis that may boost your cardiovascular health.

An unhealthy diet can lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which in turn wrecks your cardiovascular health.

The NHS site stresses how important a healthy, balanced diet is for heart health.

But what should you be eating and drinking to keep your heart in check?

According to the NHS site, a balanced diet includes:

  • low levels of saturated fat (found in foods such as fatty cuts of meat, lard, cream, cakes and biscuits) – try to include healthier sources of fat, such as oily fish, nuts and seeds, and olive oil
  • low levels of salt – aim for less than six grams (one teaspoon) a day
  • low levels of sugar
  • plenty of fibre and wholegrain foods
  • plenty of fruit and vegetables – eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

The surprising drink that may improve cardiovascular health

While simply adding one ingredient to your diet won’t transform your heart health, it could help.

New research published in the Nutrition Bulletin revealed that a daily glass of 100 percent fruit juice could boost heart health, and has no adverse health effects on weight gain, type 2 diabetes risk or metabolic health.

Professor John Sievenpiper, from the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, who co-authored the review, said: “Pure fruit juice provides the same vitamins, minerals and plant bioactive found in whole fruits yet it is sometimes unfairly maligned because it contains natural fruit sugars.

“Our research shows that a small daily glass doesn’t do any harm and there is a chance it could do you some good.”

Some studies from the US and Europe report a 15 to 20 percent reduction in stroke risk in regular fruit juice consumers.

Some clinical trials show that juices made from oranges, pomegranates, and cranberry significantly lower blood pressure, or improve vascular (blood vessel) function.

The professor added: “The average blood pressure changes reported by studies following regular fruit juice consumption were in a similar range to what you would expect to see after cutting salt intake by around four grams a day.

“At the same time, evidence from high-quality intervention studies refutes the link that some American observational studies have made between 100 percent fruit juice and type 2 diabetes.”

Fruit juice has a bad reputation for being full of sugar, but the trials show that as long as the juice is 100 percent natural it could be perfectly healthy.

Juice that is labelled 100 percent contains only the juice of natural fruits, with no additives, sweeteners or preservatives.

Professor Sievenpiper said: “Time and again, clinical trials show that drinking a moderate amount of fruit juice does not lead to unhealthy blood sugar or insulin levels, or to excess body weight or risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This means that people who enjoy a glass of fruit juice can be reassured that it fits into a balanced diet”.

Anyone concerned about their heart health and diet should speak to a doctor.

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