Heart health is a crucial part of living a full and healthy life. Despite this, far too many people in the United States and worldwide are living with poor heart health. In America, heart disease is one of the leading causes of adult death. Cardiologists have been studying heart health for decades, and they have some advice about some of the foods you should avoid if you want to keep your heart in tip-top shape.
6 Foods To Avoid For Better Heart Health
Our society is all about food being cheap and convenient. Unfortunately, this is damaging our health. Our heart health, in particular, takes a big hit from these pre-packaged, high fat, high salt, and high sugar convenience foods. If you’re wondering what foods you should truly be avoiding to improve your heart health, this is what cardiologists have to say. (1)
1. Processed Meats
Processed meats are one of the most common culprits in heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease. These are products like bacon, salami, sausages, and other processed meat products. They’re high in sodium and saturated fat, which can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in your arteries. These meats also contain nitrates, which not only damage your heart, they have also shown to be a potential cause for cancer.
2. Potato Chips and Packaged Snacks
Potato chips are one of the most popular snack foods around, but they’re also packed with sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure. They also contain far too much saturated fat, which can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries. Other packaged snacks like pretzels, crackers, popcorn, cookies, cakes and pies tend to contain high levels of sodium as well as added sugars (which are linked with obesity) and trans fats (which are linked with heart disease).
Desserts typically aren’t good for anyone’s health—they’re often loaded with calories and sugar—but they’re especially bad for people with cardiovascular issues. This is because they add to the total amount of sugar in the diet. If you have diabetes, you need to be especially careful about eating desserts because they can increase your blood glucose levels significantly.
Read: 10 Signs You’re Living With Clogged Arteries
4. Alcoholic drinks
Alcohol is not good for you; let’s face it. Especially those that are high in sugar like wine coolers and sweet liquors. They are full of calories and sugar, which can lead to weight gain or obesity if you’re drinking more than one glass per day.
5. Too Much Protein
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet, especially for people who are physically active. But too much of it can have negative effects on your overall health. Some types of protein, like red meat and processed meats, are high in saturated fat and cholesterol which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
6. Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are not good for your health. They are either incredibly high in sugar, and they are also often very high in caffeine and have been known to cause arrhythmias and other heart problems. While having a cup of tea or coffee in the morning has many health benefits, energy drinks simply do not share the same pros.
What To Eat Instead
It can be tempting to eat fast food and purchase plenty of pre-made, pre-packaged items at the store. While these are often cheap and convenient, however, they are very likely to shorten your life. Instead, you should be focused on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and switching out some of your animal-based protein for plant-based options. Items like chips, cookies, ice cream, alcoholic beverages, and processed meats should not be a regular part of your diet. You should probably avoid items such as energy drinks altogether. (2, 3)
While there is always a little room in life for indulgences, when we do so too often, we damage our health. Heart health is particularly important, as heart disease is one of the number one causes of premature death in the United States. Don’t let convenience get in the way of your health. Take the appropriate steps now to ensure that you live a long, healthy life – if not for you, then do it for those who love and depend on you.
Keep Reading: 5 Reasons to Eat Watermelon Often
- “8 foods cardiologists try to avoid.” Today. A. Pawlowski. July 10, 2018.
- “What Foods Should I Eat and Avoid with Coronary Heart Disease?” Healthline. Valencia Higuera. April 1, 2020
- “Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Staff.