The holidays can be a difficult time to navigate if you have high blood pressure. While it’s natural to want to indulge in all the classic treats and bites, people managing their blood pressure know they need to watch their salt and sugar intake in order to control their blood pressure.
When managing blood pressure, one of the most proven diets to follow is the DASH Diet, which is a diet that is not only rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, but also focuses on the micronutrients calcium, magnesium, and potassium. And when it comes to drinks, alcohol recommendations include two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less for women.
If you’re vacationing with your in-laws who may talk too much about politics, or if you’re tearing your hair out just trying to keep up with all your vacation plans, an alcoholic drink or a caffeinated boost may be the go-to. of mind. But to manage blood pressure, too much alcohol or caffeine is a no-go. And if you’re a fan of sweet or savory drinks, you might also need to think twice about what you put in your cup.
Of course, there’s no need to go without a festive and delicious drink you know and love this holiday season. But, if you have high blood pressure, here are some drinks you might want to limit if you’re focused on controlling your blood pressure.
The quintessential holiday drink is made with egg yolks, sugar, whole milk, heavy cream, and usually alcohol. While the DASH diet does allow dairy productsit specifies low-fat options as the best choice, which wouldn’t include something like heavy cream. Added sugar can also elevate blood pressure, making eggnog one of the worst drinks to enjoy while on vacation.
Seasonal coffee-sweetened beverages
Many holiday coffee drinks are loaded with sugar and fat. Take the Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, for example.
“With 380 milligrams of sodium in a 16-ounce size, this Toasted white chocolate mocha contributes 1/5 of the American Heart Association’s recommended daily intake,” says Carly Fenimore, MS, RD, LDNowner of Fertility RD.
“Add the 420 calories, the equivalent of a small meal, supplemented with the 10 grams of saturated fat (50% of the recommended daily intake) and 55 grams of sugar (double the recommended daily serving for women, 19 grams above the allowance for men), this drink does not add much Christmas cheer to anyone’s blood pressure and general health,” she explains.
Why are these ingredients important? “Sugar and caffeine can temporarily affect your blood pressure and cause high readings,” explains Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDNcertified sports dietitian.
Buttered hot rum
Drinking a drink made from real melted butter is not ideal for people who are focused on their heart health. Add a little alcohol to the mix and this drink, while rich and delicious, may become too high in saturated fat and alcohol for people watching their blood pressure.
The data show that the increase butter consumption is associated with significantly higher blood pressure, making this drink one to avoid on vacation.
Creamy Espresso Martini
The trendy drink making its way onto social media may look pretty, but because it contains added sugars, caffeine and cream, it’s made with the trio of drink ingredients to avoid for managing blood pressure. You better enjoy a small cup of coffee as a nightcap instead. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and cocoa on your coffee for a little extra comfort.
For some, throwing a holiday party without a huge bowl of holiday punch is unthinkable. Often made with super-sweet ingredients and a ton of alcohol, drinking this punch may add too much added sugar for people with high blood pressure to tolerate without feeling the effects.
The holidays can be a fun time for many, but they can also be hectic and exhausting. For people running around with fumes trying to wrap presents, bake all their holiday baking, and sign all their holiday cards, an energy drink may look just like the doctor ordered.
But, excessive caffeine can have negative effects on blood pressure for those with existing hypertension. And the added sugar found in many energy drinks won’t do you any favors when it comes to blood pressure either. You better allow yourself to take a nap in the middle of the day if you need an energy boost.
Holiday brunches and Bloody Marys go hand in hand. But classic versions of this drink are incredibly high in sodium, a mineral known to raise blood pressure. It is perhaps better to taste a 100% orange juice mimosa as a brunch cocktail. In fact, data shows that orange juice may be linked to better blood pressure resultsthanks in part to the plant compound this citrus drink contains called hesperidin.
However, while orange juice may support a healthy blood pressure diet, that doesn’t mean you should overdo it with mimosas on a regular basis. It’s always important to consider the impact of alcohol and added sugars on your heart health over time.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning dietitian, book author and recipe creator who has been practicing for nearly 20 years. Learn more about Lawrence