How to Protect Your Heart at Any Age -- You're Never Too Young to Start!

The best ways to prevent heart disease in every decade of your life (17 Photos)

Laura Flynn McCarthy on Jun 21, 2013 at 3:36PM

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How to Protect Your Heart at Any Age -- You're Never Too Young to Start!

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In Your 20s: Drink Water

Coming out of your teens, you may regularly drink soda, sports drinks or big glasses of juice. Switching at least one or two of these drinks a day to water will not only save you money, it may also save your heart. These drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet. The AHA recommends that women consume no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day, and men no more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons). A single 12-ounce soft drink contains 130 calories, or about 8 teaspoons. Studies show that people who get a lot of their calories from added sugars often don’t consume enough fiber, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin A in their diets. What’s more, drinking your “discretionary calories” is less satisfying than eating them, so you’re more likely to overeat, which may put you on the path to being overweight, having high blood pressure and being at higher risk for diabetes -- all dangers to your heart. If plain water is just too, well, plain, squirt a lemon or lime in it, drink seltzer or brew up some unsweetened iced tea.

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