Avoid These 11 Foods for a Healthy Heart

Fast foods have become an endemic problem in the modern world. Research shows that 50 million customers will eat fast foods daily. Carbonated drinks are the number one beverage sold in the US. Sugar, salt, refined carbs, and saturated fats are a part of our daily meals. Yet, they are the number one leading causes of heart attacks or strokes. We will look at some foods that you need to avoid for a healthy heart and overall good health.

Red Meat

You may be one of those individuals who cannot have a meal without some red meat. However, every time you consume large amounts of red meat, you are opening a door for diabetes and heart diseases. Red meat has a lot of saturated fat, which will lead to high cholesterol. By all means, continue to consume red meat, but do it in moderation. Opt for lean cuts and combine your meals with a lot of vegetables.

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Avoid processed meats because they contain high levels of salt and saturated fats. That means you will have to let go of your hot dogs, salami, sausages, among others.

Bacon

Many of us cannot imagine breakfast without bacon. However, more than half of the calories in bacon come from saturated fat. It also contains a lot of salt and preservatives. What you are putting yourself at risk for is blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein, heart disease, and ultimately heart failure.

Pastries and cakes

Pastries and cakes are so convenient to have in the house. They will satisfy a hunger pang; they are fantastic for entertaining and, most importantly, are delicious. However, you should limit the amount you consume. Many baked treats have a lot of sugar that will lead to weight gain and expose you to heart diseases. Here is some good news though; you do not have to eliminate them from your diet. Just use healthier options in the ingredients. Instead of white flour, substitute it with whole wheat flour instead. Reduce the amount of sugar and opt for plant-based oils instead of shortening or butter when baking.

Soda

Nothing beats the pleasure of a cold soda on a hot day. It is also a fantastic accompaniment to a burger or pizza.  However, you may want to rethink opening that can of soda every time you get thirsty. You will gain weight due to the high sugar content. You are also putting yourself at risk of contracting diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. There are products such as diet drinks, but there is still no supporting evidence regarding how good or bad they are. You may, therefore, want to stick with water and use healthy ways to sweeten it naturally. A slice of lemon, pineapple, ginger, or orange will do the trick. The other option is to go for iced tea instead.

Bread, white  rice and pasta

Bread, white rice, and pasta do not contain vitamins, healthy fiber, or minerals. They contain sugar, which the body quickly turns to fat. Opt for healthier options such as brown rice, whole wheat, 100% whole grain, and oats instead.

Ice-cream

Ice cream is a comfort food, and is an essential component for many desserts. However, in each delicious scoop is a high amount of saturated fat, sugar, and calories. Minimize your ice cream intake and save it for special occasions.

Pizza

Pizza is a popular staple for many people. It is convenient because you can order in, and you do not have to worry about making dinner or lunch. It is also a relatively simple dish to make, and that is where you have an advantage. If you can, totally avoid frozen or takeout pizza. If you must order in, ask for a whole wheat crust, less salt, and cheese, and be careful about the toppings. You may want to leave out the sausages or pepperoni. The best alternative, however, is to make the pizza yourself so that you have complete control of the ingredients.

Alcohol

If you are a moderate drinker, then you can go ahead and enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverage. However, if you have high blood pressure, then you will want to avoid it altogether. If you do not know how to control your alcohol and can binge drink for days on end, it may be time to stop. You ran the risk of heart failure, stroke, blood pressure, and weight gain.

Full-fat Yoghurt

 Yogurt is an excellent source of nutrition. You get calcium, proteins, and the probiotics give you a healthy gut. When shopping, avoid flavored full-fat yogurt because they contain sugar, and the processing can be unhealthy. Your best option is to get low fat or plain yogurt, and then add your flavor. Fruits, cinnamon, vanilla flavoring, among others, will transform your plain yogurt into something delectable. 

Fried Chicken And French Fries

Fried chicken and French fries make a wonderful mouthwatering combination. However, when you deep fry food, you are adding calories from sodium and fat to it. Look for healthy recipes to make your chicken and fries. There are fantastic recipes that will teach you how to bake instead of frying. Be careful about potions, and consider using sweet potatoes for your chips.

Potato chips have the same problem as French fries. What makes them especially dangerous is that it is so easy to reach for a packet anytime you feel hungry. It is not uncommon to find that before you know it, the bag is empty. Consider healthier snack alternatives that you can easily carry around to take care of any hunger cravings you may have. 

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing typically contains sugar, salt, and buttermilk. What you therefore get is sodium, fat, and calories. Instead of buying your dressing, make your own. Use ingredients such as low-fat buttermilk, fresh herbs, cottage cheese, among others. 

Final Thoughts

We have highlighted some of the foods you need to avoid for a healthy heart. Unfortunately, most of them are things we enjoy eating, and it can become difficult to avoid them totally. That is why we preach moderation in whatever you consume. Having healthier alternatives will also make it easier for you to stick to a healthy regime. You may, for example, want to avoid white flour and opt for whole wheat instead. That way, you get to continue to consume what you like but in a healthy manner.