Cardiovascular disease is today the number 1 killer in the world causing more than 17 million deaths a year. And even if your diet contains some heart-healthy food like oatmeal or salmon that can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and plaque, you may still be at risk of developing a cardiac disease.
Here, we discuss some of the worst food items you can eat for your heart.
Processed meat: Hot dogs, bacon, sausages and other meat items including lean meats like turkey are some of the things you indulge in at a fast food joint. These products are made with loads of sodium and preservatives and often include nitrates and nitrites, both of which are linked to heart problems. Processed meats also contain a high amount of saturated fats and are much lower in proteins as compared to any red meat you would prepare yourself. Processed meats can also increase your risk of diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
Red meat: Processed meat is extremely bad for your heart, but that doesn’t mean that having steak as part of everyday diet is any good. You can of course treat yourself to a steak meal once in a while, but definitely not on a regular basis. Even when unprocessed, they are high in saturated fats. Even if you crave to have some steak, it is always advised to pick out a lean or extra-lean piece of meat, which contains less saturated fat compared to the other cuts.
Pizza: A delicious cheese slice may contain as much as two thirds of your recommended daily limit of saturated fat. Even if cheese seems like ‘just another dairy product’, many of these products are highly processed. Always avoid the extra cheese and top your pizzas with some veggies instead of meats.
Alfredo sauce: A sauce all pasta-lovers should be aware of. A very heavy sauce, made from butter, cream and cheese, it’s not too surprising to find out that it is loaded with saturated fat, especially in restaurants where the sauce is poured all over your noodles. Ask the sauce on the side when you place your order at a restaurant and try to stick to just a tablespoon or two. If you’re preparing your own sauce, try a lighter recipe, replacing butter with olive oil, cream with skim milk and cut down on the amount of cheese you use.
Trans fats: These fatty acids are produced during the process that make vegetable oils more solid. Cheaper to produce, used to make packaged food products last longer and can be re-used in frying. All these factors lead to their increased usage but trans fat tend to raise LDL levels also referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ and lower HDL levels, referred to as ‘good cholesterol’.
Fried foods: Most restaurants use their frying oil over and over again, because of which the fat becomes more and more saturated.
Sodas and aerated beverages: A lot of us associate heart diseases with high cholesterol and fat levels, but what we must also take into consideration is the high sugar intake that can eventually lead to obesity and have its effect on the insulin and development of atherosclerosis. According to some studies, drinking one sugary beverage a day increases your risk of developing a heart attack by almost 20%, even if it doesn’t show much prominence on the weighing scale. Diet sodas aren’t too good for your heart either, as they increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Fast food: Always a bad idea. There a very very very few things you will find at a fast food restaurant that is not loaded with saturated fat, trans fat and sugar or sodium, making them nothing short of a disaster for you and your heart.
As much as you should know what you should be eating for a healthy heart, it is also important that you know what you should NOT be eating. For more tips and consultations with our expert dieticians, you can call +91 99201 55000 or visit www.asianheartinstitute.org.