Stay healthy and get informed about the worst foods for your heart.
Want to keep heart disease away? You might need to make some lifestyle changes. One of the most important is changing the way you eat, particularly if these 10 foods are part of your regular diet. Each one may increase your risk for heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.
It’s no secret that candy isn’t a healthy food option, but scientists have discovered it might be worse than you might think. Research shows that eating too much sugar can lead to conditions that can cause heart disease, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and inflammation.
Sugary cereal is one food that many people have for breakfast each day without realizing how harmful it can be. Eating certain types of cereals every morning can raise your blood sugar and increase the amount of inflammation in your body. These conditions can be harmful to your heart.
Those who drink soda frequently are more likely to be obese, have diabetes, and have high blood pressure. And don’t assume diet soda is better. While the science isn’t settled, diet sodas may increase your risk of gaining weight or having a stroke.
Drinking too much alcohol is also bad for your heart. When you overdo it, you’re at a greater risk for high blood pressure and heart failure. Most alcoholic beverages are also loaded with calories. This can lead to weight gain, another factor that can contribute to heart disease.
Hot dogs, cold cuts, pepperoni, sausages — these processed meats may be tasty, but they may also put you at risk for heart problems in the future. Not only are they loaded with sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure, they are also high in compounds called nitrates. Foods with nitrates can make your blood vessels get stiff, so they aren’t able to pump blood as well.
When it comes to bread, stay away from anything made from refined white flour. The same goes for white grains, like rice and pasta. When your body digests these foods, it stores and uses them much like sugar for energy. This puts you at risk for weight gain, inflammation, and Type 2 diabetes.
With processed meat and white breads in the ingredients, you can probably guess why pizza is bad for your heart. It is also high in sodium and can lead to weight gain. When you do indulge, try veggies instead of processed meats for toppings.
French fries are loaded with sodium and saturated fat — two things that may put you at risk for heart disease. You don’t have to stop eating fries completely, however. Try baking them instead and using sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes.
Low-fat packaged foods
When you see food with a “fat free” or “low-fat” label, you may assume it’s good for you. But chances are they could put you at risk for heart disease. When manufacturers remove the fat from foods, like salad dressings, they add more sodium and sugar to the foods to make them taste good.
If you enjoy soup, it’s best to make your own instead of turning to the convenient cans you buy in the supermarket. If you don’t want to make your own, be sure to read the label as canned soup are often very high in sodium. Eating too much of this mineral can cause high blood pressure and heart disease.
To schedule an appointment with a primary care physician or specialty provider, visit Mercy.com.