In 2009, 301 beverages with heart healthy claims were launched globally, according to Innova Market Insights, Duiven, The Netherlands. Last year, heart healthy claims in beverages globally were up 36 percent from the year before and 65 percent from 2007.
Beverage-makers often use a blend of ingredients to create a heart healthy beverage and address consumers’ heart health concerns. Vitamin E and C many times appear in heart healthy beverages to help remove from the body free radicals, which are believed to increase the chances of heart disease, cancer and premature aging, researchers say. CoQ10, another antioxidant, also removes free radicals from the body and is involved in a key biochemical reaction that produces energy in cells and may aid in the health of the cardiovascular system, researchers say.
Plant sterols and fiber
Phytoserols, also called plant sterols, are another ingredient frequently included in heart healthy beverages. Plant sterols are a plant extract that can be incorporated into beverages without affecting flavor or texture, but give a cloudy appearance, suppliers say.
Omega-3 fatty acids have become a popular ingredient for inclusion in beverages and foods for their purported health benefits. The FDA permits a qualified health claim that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.