Friday, January 21

The Worst Foods for Heart Health, According to a Cardiologist


Photo: Photo of Polina Tankilevitch in Pexels / Pexels

What you fill your plate with can help you maintain your heart rate. Another one of the many benefits of following a healthy diet. It’s simple: heart-healthy foods contain nutrients that have been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system or reduce the risk of developing heart disease by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, lowering blood pressure, managing weight and / or improve insulin sensitivity. So specific nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants get top marks in these categories. Not in vain the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are the best options for those seeking to maintain or improve heart health.

Science supports this premise: A menu focused on produce, whole grains, nuts and beans, plus a little dairy and heart-healthy fats can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by about a third. This information was confirmed in a 2016 study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Based on this, the million dollar question is to know about the foods that receive green light and those that receive red light. Here is a summary of the most relevant, according to expert cardiologists.

1. Processed sausages

One of the main recommendations of the experts is to completely get rid of any variant of sausage. According to the experts, even the low-fat versions of cured sausages contain the preservative sodium nitrate. Nitrates are very harmful substances that tend to increase internal inflammation and “chronic inflammation has a direct link with the development of atherosclerosis”, the hardening or narrowing of the arteries.

2. Hot dogs

Of course, the iconic hot dogs are related to the first point, since sausages are a type of sausage. The thing about hot dogs and sausages is that they can have a high in saturated fat. Even low-fat options tend to be full of salt. it is well known that one of the most important measures to protect your heart and cardiovascular health is to monitor your sodium intakeSince more sodium in the diet often leads to higher blood pressure. And with this, the risk of suffering all kinds of cardiovascular diseases is increased.

3. Rotisserie chicken

Of course, chicken is a very beneficial meat for health; it is rich in proteins of high biological value, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. However, preparation matters a lot: a grilled breast is not the same as a rotisserie chicken. Roast poultry in supermarkets: they often contain much more sodium and saturated fat than typical homemade poultry products, the main reason is that they are usually products that are seasoned and the skin is roasted in order to make them tastier. Therefore, the best recommendation is to bet on roasting the chicken at home and always control the amount of sodium or seasonings that are added to them. Bet on removing the skin, to reduce its contribution in saturated fat and season with spices, citrus fruits and aromatic herbs.

4. Sugary cereals

Not all fats are bad, it is true. In fact, various nutrition trends recommend the intake of healthy fats to protect cardiovascular health. However, betting on the consumption of cereals and commercial granola is not always the solution. The reason? These types of products can contain up to eight grams of sugar per serving to compensate for their low level of fat. Dietary fat was the enemy for many years. Now, most experts agree that a diet high in added sugar can be an equally great threat by contributing to obesity, inflammation, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for disease. cardiac.

5. French fries

Sure, all fried foods stand out for being high in saturated fat. The irresistible French fries are a type of food with which we must be especially careful: Not only are they caloric, they contain saturated fat, they are packed with sodium! In fact, there are studies in which it has been proven that high levels of consumption of potato chips in the United States have been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes in scientific research.

6. Pizza

Pizza is undeniably one of the favorite and most consumed foods in the world, and of course by Americans. Nevertheless, It is in the AHA classification as one of the 6 most salty foods and it’s just a slice of pizza packed with toppings like pepperoni, sausage, pickled jalapeños, and cheese, it can hide 50% or more of your daily sodium intake. Therefore, if you want to indulge yourself and enjoy a pizza, the best advice is to consume it only occasionally and avoid the versions with sausages, bet on those that contain fresh cheeses and abundant vegetables.

7. Soft drinks

Speaking of sweet drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks They make up about half of all added sugars in the average daily American diet. For every additional sugar-filled drink, like that can of Coke many people consider harmless a day, your risk of heart disease and stroke increases. According to a meta-analysis from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that frequent consumption of all sweetened beverages, including sodas, artificial fruit juices, and sports drinks, increases the chances of dying from atherosclerosis. Also let’s not forget that they are related to a long list of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular conditions.

8. Red meat

One of the most important strategies to boost your heart health is to get more plant-based proteins, such as beans and nuts, into your diet. In fact, every day there are more references in which Eating red meat has been shown to increase cardiovascular risk. A 2018 study from the European Heart Journal seems to have found the reason: compared to white meat or vegetarian protein sources, red meat causes the body to produce more intestinal bacteria, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) during digestion. According to data from the Cleveland Clinic, high amounts of TMAO in the body have been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

9. Sweet pastries

Danish pastries, cakes, commercial cookies, croissants, donuts and other bakery goodies are not only high in fat, sugar and white flour, They can also carry trans fats into the bloodstream. As an aside: “trans fats can increase the risk of developing heart disease, since they simultaneously lower good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol.

10. Margarine

For years, everything bad was related to the consumption of butter; Today we know that after all in moderate quantities it is not so bad. A 2016 review in PLOS One found very few links between butter consumption and heart disease. Instead, margarine seems to be more of a villain as it can be packed with additives and saturated fat. All of these factors can “increase triglycerides in the blood, which can lead to the build-up of arterial plaque.

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