by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Did you know that cheese and butter can increase the risk of gallstones? Or that shellfish can make you prone to bladder infections? Shocked? So was I, but it’s true! This information might be surprising, but there are food items that may negatively affect your health.
In this article, we will talk about different food items that are not good for your heart health.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. Speak with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your nutrition plan to ensure it is right for your current health status and situation.
Heart Disease is a Major Issue
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. Poor heart health can be due to various factors like smoking, age, heredity, and many other diseases and conditions. However, nutrition is one of the leading factors that can impact the risk of heart disease.
Knowing which food items to eliminate from your nutrition plan is one of the best ways to boost your overall heart health.
8 Food Items You Should Avoid to Maintain Heart Health
You need to be very thoughtful when it comes to your heart health. The food items that you include not only have the power to boost your health but could also affect your health negatively. In short, the food items you choose can either make or break your heart health.
Listed below are the eight worst foods for your heart health that you should try to avoid.
1. Processed Meat
Hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni… Of course, processed food is delicious, but it can put you at risk of heart disease. It is because these food items contain saturated fat, plus their preparation requires a lot of sodium, which can ultimately lead to high blood pressure, which leads us directly into the next food item.
2. Foods High in Sodium
When it comes to high blood pressure and heart disease, sodium is one of the most important determinants. There’s a relationship between sodium and increases in blood pressure. Excessive sodium levels in your nutrition can put you at a higher risk of heart disease and strokes.
Drinking in moderation won’t harm you unless you have high blood pressure. Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can increase the risk of heart disease. Additionally, alcohol contains a lot of calories that can lead to weight gain, which can then cause heart disease.
Butter contains saturated fat that can increase your cholesterol level and lead to heart disease. So, if you already have high cholesterol levels, it is better to swap butter with olive oil or oil that contains heart-healthy fats.
5. White Rice and Bread
Snacks that are made from white flour lack essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other key nutrients that promote health. While digesting, your body uses these items like sugar for energy, which puts you at risk of various diseases. Try to add more whole grains to your nutrition plan, like brown rice, oats, etc.
Consumption of added sugar in limited amounts isn’t harmful. But soda? Well, soft drinks are abundant in sugar content and provide you with more than your fair share of empty calories. For instance, a can of soda contains more sugar than a day’s requirement. This can lead to diabetes and various heart diseases. Try to replace it with water or beverages that contain little to no sugar.
A high-sucrose nutrition plan can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease by around 8%. Apart from that, it can also lead to weight gain, diabetes, inflammation, and various other health-related issues.
8. French Fries
Well, that’s a bummer, right? Who doesn’t like fries? But do you know how harmful those deep-fried potatoes are for your heart health? Fries are loaded with saturated fat and sodium, which can put you at risk for heart disease. However, instead of deep-frying, you can try baking them or even tossing them in the air fryer.
Food Items to Consume That Help Boost Heart Health
Here are a few items you should have in your nutrition plan that can help you maximize your heart health:
- Green tea
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fatty fish and fish oil supplements
Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
Looking to boost your heart health? Here are a few lifestyle changes that can help to keep your heart healthy:
- Quit smoking
- Cut down on alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a well-balanced mix of healthy macronutrients
- Manage stress levels
What’s the Bottom Line?
If you want to keep your heart healthy for the coming years, you need to keep an eye on the food you consume. Remember, moderation is key. Consumption of any item within a certain limit is fine and can keep you healthy and sane from super constricted nutrition plans.
In case you are not sure which items to include, you can consult your medical professional. A medical professional can help you determine which food items to include and how much, depending upon the requirement of your body and individual needs.