The best beverages for your heart

Sweet drinks go down easy, but they may be hard on your heart. Aside from plain water, the healthiest choices are unsweetened tea, coffee, and flavored waters.

When you want to quench your thirst with something a little more exciting than plain old water, there are a dizzying array of choices these days. However, many of the beverages in supermarkets and convenience store aisles are loaded with added sugar. Even many of those that sound healthy (such as 100% fruit juice and vitamin-enhanced water) contain as much sugar as regular sodas.

Yes, the sugar in fruit juice is naturally occurring, as opposed to the processed sugar (usually high-fructose corn syrup) found in many carbonated and noncarbonated drinks such as sodas, vitamin water, and the like. But people should still be mindful about consuming too much fruit juice, says Vasanti Malik, a nutrition researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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