Heart-Healthy Holiday Beverages

Sunrise Senior Living  |  December 9, 2013

This holiday season, raise a toast to good health and stay warm by sipping on beverages that promote wellness, such as coffee, tea or red wine. People in retirement living may especially enjoy these drinks, which have been linked to cardiovascular health benefits:

Sip your way to better health
Winter is the perfect time of year to warm up with a hot beverage by the fireside. When it comes to drinks that benefit your heart and circulatory system, you've got quite the pick. Jumpstart your morning and get your blood pumping with a cup of Joe. According to USA Today, new studies have indicated that enjoying a 5-ounce mug of caffeinated coffee may help improve blood vessel function and overall cardiovascular health. Add a bit of seasonal flavor by trying out a peppermint or gingerbread flavored coffee blend.

If you're not a fan of coffee's bitter flavor, you might still enjoy a boost in the morning or early afternoon from a cozy cup of tea. According to several studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming the polyphenols and caffeine present in tea can provide a plethora of benefits. The results of one clinical trial suggested that men who drink green tea on a daily basis could reduce the progression of prostate cancer, and other studies linked the beverage with decreased rates of lung, breast and skin cancer, among others. Drinking green tea has also been associated with promoting weight loss and people's ability to burn fat.

Spice it up
The polyphenols found in tea are also present in another beverage - red wine. When consumed in moderation, red wine has been suggested to provide a variety of health benefits - from preventing blood clots and strokes to reducing one's likelihood of developing certain cancers. Mulled wine is a winter favorite in countries around the globe and a quick and easy holiday beverage to make. Try this recipe for a hot and heart-healthy drink:

Spicy Mulled Wine
Ingredients
1 bottle red wine
2 1/2 C water
1 C pulpy orange juice
1/3 C sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp nutmet
3 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp ground star anise

Instructions
Pour the water and a cup of pulpy orange juice into a large pot, and stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and star anise, as well 1/3 cup of sugar. Heat the beverage over a medium flame, bringing it to a boil while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the flame to a slow simmer and add the red wine until it's warmed, but be sure not to return it to a boil. To reduce the alcohol content per glass, just increase the juice or water ratio in the recipe.