Sugar, Salt and Saturated Fat
Salt, cholesterol, saturated fat, and processed carbohydrates all increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke over time. Keep these out of your daily rotation if you're concerned for your heart.
However, rather than focusing on a single unhealthy meal, it's better to think about your whole diet. If you eat more heart-healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, you will still get these products.
Saturated fat accounts for more than half of the calories in bacon, and can lift your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. It's high in sodium, which raises blood pressure and causes the heart to function harder. Sodium (the main component of salt) in excess can cause stroke, heart disease, and heart failure. Bacon's additional preservatives have also been attributed to these problems.
Excessive consumption of beef, lamb, and pork can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It's possible that it's because they're rich in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels. More recent research has focused on how gut bacteria digest L-carnitine, a type of amino acid found in meat. Keep your portions to a minimum. Additionally, lean cuts such as oval, sirloin, and extra-lean ground beef should be sought.
Tiny levels of added sugar aren't dangerous, but a can of soda has more added sugar than doctors prescribe for an entire day. Soda drinkers are more likely to gain weight, become obese, and develop type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Although the evidence on diet drinks is still murky, some study has linked them to weight gain and strokes. Pure, carbonated, or unsweetened filtered water is your best option.
Cookies, cookies, and muffins can be reserved for special occasions. They're typically high in added sugar, which contributes to weight gain. Higher triglyceride levels have also been linked to them, which can lead to heart disease. White flour is normally the main ingredient, which will raise your blood sugar and leave you hungry. Make better desserts by using whole-wheat flour, reducing the fat, and replacing butter or shortening with liquid plant oils.
Hot dogs, sausage, salami, and lunch meat are the worst types of meats for your heart. They have high amounts of salt, and most are high in saturated fat. When it comes to deli meats, turkey is better for you than salami because it doesn’t have the saturated fat. But it still has a fair amount of sodium, so it isn’t as heart-healthy as fresh sliced turkey breast.
White Rice, Bread, and Pasta
White flour-based rice, bread, noodles, and snacks are deficient in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Sugar is easily converted by refined grains, which the body retains as fat. A diet rich in processed grains has been linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes in research. At least half of the grains should come from whole grains such as brown rice, peas, and whole wheat. Look for the words "100% whole grain" when you're shopping.
If you cook pizza the right way, it can be nutritious, but most take-out pizza and frozen pies are high in salt, sugar, and calories, both of which can increase the risk of a heart attack. When ordering pizza, choose a thin crust (whole wheat if possible), ask for less cheese, pour on the veggies, and avoid the salty pepperoni or sausage. Create your own pizza for the healthiest choice.
If you have high blood pressure or high triglycerides, a form of fat in your blood that can increase your risk of heart disease, moderate drinking won't hurt your heart. On the other hand, excessive drinking will result in elevated blood pressure, heart loss, strokes, and weight gain. So, if you haven't started drinking yet, don't.
Butter has a lot of saturated fat, which can improve your bad cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. You're best off replacing butter with heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil or vegetable oil-based spreads. A stanol-enriched spread is much safer if you have high cholesterol. Regular use can aid in the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels.
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