Eating everything in moderation is good in theory, but not when it comes to these 3 foods. Cardiologists want you to avoid them at all costs.
Being a Cardiologist in the United States is not for the faint of heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and a poor diet is to blame.
Heart doctors everywhere are seeing the effects the western diet has on our hearts.
It’s no surprise there’s a list of foods Cardiologists try to avoid to keep their hearts healthy. Below are some of the top foods Cardiologists try to limit in their diet and why you might want to limit them as well.
1. Processed Meat
When you think of typical American food, usually hot dogs and bacon come to mind. Unfortunately, these are the same foods that increase your heart disease risk. Processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausage, lunch meat, and more are high in saturated fats and sodium.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Consuming high amounts of them can affect cholesterol levels. High cholesterol increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Additionally, sodium acts as a preservative in processed foods and meats. A high-sodium diet can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. This extra pressure can damage major arteries and limit blood flow to the heart (1, 2).
Processed meat is any meat preserved by smoking, curing, or salting. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found something alarming.
It found that even small amounts of processed meats can increase your heart disease risk. Another older study found that consuming processed meats increased your risk by 42%.
2. Processed Snack Foods
Potato chips, Cheez Whiz, ramen noodles, cereal, and even white bread are all processed.
Like processed meats, these snack foods are high in saturated fat and sodium. Many of them also contain high amounts of added sugars and carbs.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 99% of people consume more than the recommended 2,000mg of sodium daily.
Those who consume over that account for 1 in 10 cardiovascular deaths. Likewise, a study conducted by JAMA: Internal Medicine found a link between heart disease and added sugars.
This study found that those who consumed between 17-21% of their calories from added sugars had a 38% higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed 8% or less.
A lot of processed foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates. Foods such as white bread, baked goods, and potato chips can increase your waistline and your risk.
Swap these foods out for whole grains that contain more fiber, such as whole-grain bread or brown rice. Swap out sugary cereals for plain oatmeal with fresh fruit instead.
Exchange your salty chips for air-popped popcorn, nuts, or seeds. These will be more filling and keep you from worrying about the health of your ticker.
3. Diet Soda
Sodas contain an astronomical number of added sugars. Because of this, diet sodas have become a popular alternative for the health-conscious. Unfortunately, diet sodas are likely worse for your heart than regular sodas.
Many diet sodas contain artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is a sugar alternative that is 200 times sweeter than table sugar.
Studies have found that the sweetness of aspartame enhances the human appetite.
This can lead to an increase in caloric intake and the likelihood of obesity. Those who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing heart disease than those who are normal weight (8).
Although regular sodas may be better for you, sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited.
Any product that has high amounts of added sugars can raise triglycerides and cause weight gain.
Aim to choose products that contain less than 5 grams of added sugars per serving. Be careful of food items listed as “Sugar-Free.” These may contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
When it comes to matters of the heart, Cardiologists are the experts.
Therefore, we should be looking to them for advice on how to treat our heart right and cut down our disease risk.
Any cardiologist will tell you, processed foods and drinks, fried foods, and energy drinks should be limited. Instead, swap out these foods for whole foods to secure a healthy heart for a lifetime.