The heart is the most crucial organ in the body. It keeps you ticking along and needs to stay healthy as you grow older. With so many different organ functions that can contribute to the improvement or detriment of cardiovascular strength, it can be overwhelming to manage heart health due to all the various factors involved.
Luckily, there is a simple solution that can encompass many of these factors in one: diet! The food you eat can significantly affect different functions of the body, so eating the wrong things can send your heart health down just as quickly as eating the right things can send it up. Here’s how cardiologists reveal five foods that are harmful to your heart and four foods best for your heart!
5 FOODS THAT ARE HARMFUL TO HEART HEALTH
1. REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
Carbohydrates give the body the energy it needs to get through the day. However, in excess, they’re also responsible for a lot of seemingly small issues that all relate to the heart. These problems can build over time and contribute to a higher risk of certain cardiovascular troubles. This is especially true for refined carbohydrates, most of which have been stripped of their best nutrients.
Here are some examples:
- WHITE BREAD
Rolls and bread are on the list of the American Heart Association’s “salty six.” This list refers to foods with a high sodium content that are the most significant sources of that component among Americans who eat it. White bread has little vitamins and little fiber, so there is nothing to help it be adequately digested. This causes it to provoke blood sugar imbalances.
- WHITE RICE
White rice is packed with carbohydrates that are much too processed to be of sufficient nutritional value. They can increase belly fat, according to Univision Network chief medical correspondent, cardiologist, and author Juan Rivera, MD, and that added belly fat can worsen the risk for heart conditions. Studies also indicate that rice consumption has some effects on cardiovascular problems.
There are some breakfast cereals designed to be more mindful of health, but most are packed with lots and lots of sugar, no matter what other health benefits they tout. Inflammation and other issues can arise from overeating cereal, especially if you like sugary kinds.
2. LOW-FAT FOODS
It’s easy to see the word “low-fat” and automatically think it’s good for the heart. Sadly, this simply isn’t the case, says Fisher. Fat is what makes dressings taste good, and a lack of them can mean that extra flavor must be added in the form of sugar or salt. So the next time someone tells you to stop eating fatty meals, put on some positive thinking and remember these low-fat foods to avoid:
- FAT-FREE OR LOW-FAT PEANUT BUTTER
Peanut butter is very fatty – but that fatty is of the right kind! Omega-6 fatty acids and other positive forms of fat are abundant in this delicious spread, and they’re all monounsaturated and good for you, says Fisher. If you opt for low-fat or fat-free options, not only will that great fat be gone, but it’ll also be replaced by sugar.
- LOW-FAT DRESSINGS
Most salad dressings and similar sauces would taste horrible if they weren’t full of sugar or sodium. Most standard reduced-fat dressings add an element of unhealthiness to salads.
- FAT-FREE PACKAGED SNACKS
Anything that unnaturally removes fat from its contents is questionable in health value at best. Fisher says that people are, more than ever, beginning to realize that these fat-free snacks don’t help with weight loss at all. If a product is usually not fat-free, it’s a good idea to avoid fat-free versions of it. Healthy fats are good for satiety, blood sugar balance, and overall health that can all be positive for your heart.