Heart diseases such as coronary artery disease and heart attacks are the leading causes of death all over the world since several decades. If you are concerned about your hearts health, then the first thing which comes to your brain is how good or safe is the food you are consuming. Right?
You must be thinking that if your daily diet includes some heart-healthy foods you are far from the risk of heart diseases. But this is not true because keeping yourself away from certain foods is also equally important for a healthy heart. Your arteries clog up when you just think about having deep fries, sugar dipped donuts and burgers with that dripping cheese. A healthy diet along with the lifestyle changes is essential to lower your risk of heart disease. An optimum diet for a healthy heart needs roughly 2000 calories, less than 16 grams of saturated fat, below 1.5 grams of salt, and fewer than 300 milligrams of cholesterol.
While watching out your hearts health, it is not enough if you just ditch salty foods. Additionally, the following foods should not find their way very often in your meal plan.
Well, most of you know that salt in excess can cause high blood pressure. But it’s time you understand that this uncontrolled blood pressure can narrow down your arteries causing heart diseases. Extra salt can cause fluid buildup in your body. Thus, your heart needs to work harder to pump the blood increases the pressure on the heart and its failure eventually. So commit to your memory to keep your salt in control. Do not exceed your daily intake of salt by more than 2 grams. However, it is ideal to have 1.5 grams per day.
Trans fat is quite harmful to your heart and is one of the easiest to limit. Trans-fat increases the bad cholesterol levels to an extent much higher than the saturated fatty acids. This increases the risk of heart attacks and coronary artery disease. So avoid the big culprits including trans-fat such as snacks, bakery foods, margarine, crackers, etc. Check the label to see if it reads “zero trans fat”. Limiting beef, pork, butter, and cheese are the other versions to cut down on trans fat.
Processed meat contains high amounts of trans fat. In addition to this, the processed meat is preserved under salt, nitrites or other preservatives which form the part of the problem for your heart. It can increase your risk for heart failure and the associated death. Therefore, cut back on burgers, hot dogs, and sausages as they contain processed meat.
Don’t think of going wild for steaks while you are avoiding the processed picks. It is also high in the saturated fats although unprocessed. Additionally, the microbes feed on these foods and produce a chemical substance which increases the risk of blot clots in the vessels that can lead to heart attack. You don’t have to go completely plant-based; you can consider them as a treat rather than a staple food in your diet.
The food you eat from outside is delicious, but the oil they use is fried again and again making it saturated. The more fried is the food you take; the greater is your risk for heart failure. It is found that the risk is 18% higher in those who consume fried foods at least 1-3 times, and is 25% higher in those who eat fries 4-6 times a week while it is as high as 68% in those who eat fries every day. So it is better you scale back on fried foods.
Processed grains and carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates have most of the fibers and nutrients removed and thus they are usually considered as “empty” calories. Intake of refined carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, etc.) and excess starches (potatoes) are linked to raising your blood pressure, putting your heart at risk for stroke. Instead, replace them with whole grains such as dietary fiber, minerals, etc.
Excess consumption of liquor can increase your blood pressure, hurt your heart muscles, and increase your risk for stroke. Binge drinking can lead to abnormalities in hearts rhythm. Try to limit your drinking, by avoiding it at least for 2 consecutive days in a week. Ideally, men should not drink more than two drinks per day while women not more than one drink per day. (One drink is equated to 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits or 4 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer).
There is a potential link between consuming soft drinks and heart diseases. Your body computes the calories from liquid sugars differently over the calories from solid food. It is associated with an increase in the blood pressure and thus the risk of heart attack and heart failure is high with soft drinks. Consumption of just two drinks per day can increase the risk for heart failure by nearly 23% compared to those who did not consume soft drinks at all. So try to reduce your cravings for soft drinks.
When it comes to heart problems, people often think of fat and cholesterol as the culprits. But the fact is that sugar is also one on the list. Sugar is added to almost everything from fizzy drinks to fast foods. To prevent your blood pressure from spiking and protect yourself from heart disease, look for the foods with less of added sugars.
Heart diseases are the major cause of death in America and many other parts of the world, so protect your heart to extend your life. You don’t have to change your diet over a single night. A gradual change can give you big rewards. As you feel happy with one change, you can try with the next change.
- Rahman I, Wolk A, Larsson SC. The relationship between sweetened beverage consumption and risk of heart failure in men. Heart. 2015;101: 1961–1965.