Heart disease accounts for about one-third of deaths in the world, and given the unhealthy lifestyles we are leading, this number is only going to increase. There is an inherent need to overhaul our life in terms of diet, sleep, exercise, stress levels to have a happy, healthy heart. Food plays a major role in the health of the heart. Following a healthy and balanced diet helps in reducing the risk of heart disease as it lowers cholesterol levels, blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels, and prevents obesity. All these parameters are an important indicator of a healthy heart. Herein, we take a look at the foods to avoid to prevent heart disease.
1. Processed meats
All meats are not fresh and are preserved with the help of salts, nitrites, or other preservatives. They include all the cold cuts like sausages, hot dogs, salami, and other deli meats like ham, bologna, turkey, and chicken. They definitely fall into the category of foods to avoid to prevent heart disease. If you must have them, you should limit the frequency as well as the quantity. Instead, it is better to have fresh meat. They might take longer to cook, but the nutrients of the meat are maintained and they do not have preservatives that can harm the heart.
2. Highly refined and processed carbohydrates and grains
Such foods include bread, white rice, potatoes, sweets, and sugar. A high level of processing eliminates most of the healthy components from these foods like dietary fiber, phytochemicals, minerals, and fatty acids. Processing also spoils the food’s natural structure. Lastly, processing these foods adds less-healthy ingredients like trans fats, sodium, and sugars. The overall effect is damaging to the heart; thus, the intake of such foods should be limited to once a week. Instead, have whole wheat, unpolished rice, and fruits that give natural sugars. You must add refined items to the list of foods to avoid to prevent heart disease.
3. Soft drinks and other sugary beverages
People in the country gain all their calories from sodas. All these sodas contain high amounts of sugar and have the same effects as that of highly refined and processed carbohydrates. Thus, these are foods to be avoided to prevent heart disease. Research has proven that these calories are not digested in the same manner as that of other liquids, but, in fact, they need to be broken down like solid food. So, if you add a soda to a meal, it is like eating a double meal that adds to your weight. Next time you crave something cool in the summer, it is better to drink fresh fruit juices instead.
4. Fried food
Deep-fried food is bad for the cholesterol levels in the body, which in turn affects the heart. Hence, bid farewell to french fries, hot dogs, and fish and chips. Instead, resort to baking and grilling food. A grilled fish tastes as nice as fried fish and has none of the damaging effects of oily food. Also, fried food is a significant reason for increased weight in people. Thus, it is most certainly one of the foods to avoid to prevent heart disease.
Your life is in your hands, and it is up to you to make it worth living. So give your heart a healthy kick start with these small dietary changes. Make a chart of these foods to avoid to prevent heart disease and you will surely benefit from it.