Amongst the Hindus feasting and fasting takes priority over all normal daily activities. To lower cholesterol and improve your heart's health, don't just think healthier foods - think healthier drinks too.
[Read: Juice Fasting this Navratri]
Here are some beverages that you should probably be drinking this Navratri, in your quest of a ‘hearty health’ -
- Water - Water is the ideal beverage, with zero calories, and 100% hydration! Aim to have 6-8 cups each day. If plain water isn’t your thing, why not liven it up a little with a few slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber? Or, if you go for flavored water, be sure to check the nutritional label, as they can be very high in sugar, or artificial sweeteners.
- Milk - Low-fat milk or soymilk are also healthy beverage alternatives, and considering most of us don’t get enough calcium, a glass of milk each day can be particularly useful. If you opt for soymilk, look out for the calcium enriched version. Sterol-fortified milks are available, which can be useful if you’re trying to lower cholesterol levels.
- Whole fruit juice - When you are choosing fruit juice, select those that are 100% whole with no added sugar. A small glass (4 ounces) makes up one serving, which is the recommended daily amount.
[Read: Benefits of Fasting during Navratri]
- You can also purchase a sterol-fortified version, which will help to lower high cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation – a process which plays an important role in the development of heart disease.
- Grape Juice - If wine is good for your heart, shouldn’t grape juice be, too? Like all fruits and vegetables, grapes are loaded with nutritional goodies that can reduce your risk of heart disease. However it is not well-established that grape juice provides the same benefits as wine.
- All fruit and vegetable juices provide heart-healthy benefits, though it is easy to drink more juice than you realize, toting up lots of calories along the way. If you’re looking for the benefits of juices, it’s probably better to just eat the fruit.
- Java coffee - The data on coffee has been less consistent, with some studies showing a distinct benefit from moderate consumption, others suggesting it doesn’t make much difference either way - and a few indicating that coffee increases blood pressure and risk of heart attack. However, an overview of the research is reassuring that moderate coffee consumption does not pose a problem for most people.In fact, the antioxidants in coffee are probably good for your heart, experts say. People sensitive to caffeine, however, may find that it raises blood pressure or causes palpitations. If you think caffeine may be causing your elevated blood pressure, Levine suggests simply switching to decaf for a few weeks to see if it helps.
[Read: Ten Diet Tips for Navratras]
- Tea - Like coffee, tea has plenty of antioxidants. The health benefits of tea may have been overblown, however. Some observational studies have indicated that tea—green or black—might help reduce the risk of heart disease. Green tea contains several powerful antioxidants that lower cholesterol and perhaps even blood pressure.
To make a day's supply, bring 20 oz water to a boil, drop in three decaffeinated green tea bags, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and refrigerate the tea. When cool, pour the tea into a container, add ice if you like, and sip throughout the day.
Drinks of this variety pack a punch for your heart, while fizzy beverages or energy drinks can be trouble-makers. When thirst strikes, choose wisely – after all, these are matters of the heart!
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