Heart disease is responsible for a quarter of deaths in the UK each year, so it’s important we do all we can to look after our tickers – and there’s three foods that we should consider cutting out
Three popular foods need to go if you’re serious about heart health, according to an expert.
Looking after our bodies is important, and we all know that a good diet can do wonders for our health – but if you want to improve your heart health, three foods need to go. Heart disease in the UK causes a quarter of deaths in the UK which is more than 170,000 people a year, so it’s good to know what can help to reduce any risks of developing the fatal condition.
Luckily, you don’t need to work out five days a week and eat a diet solely of fish – although these are both good to include in a healthy lifestyle – but there are a few things you can do to help keep your heart healthy. One is to cut out three foods that can be a “game-changer” in heart health.
First up, is the biggest offender of all – bacon. Sorry to all bacon lovers, but the high-sodium food isn’t doing us much good. The popular breakfast item is a food people should be wary of reaching for regularly as Michelle Routhenstein, a preventive cardiology dietitian-nutritionist told Huffington Post.
She said: “The way bacon is made can lead to adverse effects on heart health. The curing process of bacon with sodium nitrite and its high sodium content can elevate blood pressure, while the compounds formed during cooking, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), contribute to inflammation and damage to blood vessels, collectively increasing the risk of heart disease.”
As well as bacon, experts recommend cutting out white bread to help heart health as can cause “rapid blood sugar spikes” according to Michelle. She stated that white bread has a “high glycemic index” as well as a “lack” of nutrients and fibre compared to wholegrain alternatives. She added: “[This] can lead to rapid blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance and weight gain, all of which increase the risk of heart disease and related complications.”
Dr Daniel Luger, a preventive cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago advised what to look for when buying bread and said: “When looking at the ingredient list, you want to see the first ingredient being listed as whole (whole wheat, whole grain, etc.) Ideally, when looking at the ingredient list you want to see only a handful of ingredients and be able to recognise what those ingredients are.”
Finally, chips are another food that is advised to be cut out of diets. We all know it’s not good to have a diet of chips regularly, and they’re also not doing your heart much good either. When food is fried, its nutritional content “changes” according to Dr. Saman Setareh-Shenas, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai.
When fried, they are often cooked in reused oil which leads to a loss of unsaturated fats and an increase in trans fats. Not only this, they’re usually covered in salt, so eating them increases your sodium intake. This can be associated with high blood pressure and an “increase in heart disease”. Dr Setareh-Shenas further added that regularly eating fried foods has been linked to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
So to improve overall heart health, including foods such as legumes – chickpeas, lentils and beans are high in fibre and help promote “satiety”, “regulate bowel movements” and feed “healthy gut bacteria” Michelle advised.
According to the NHS, it’s important to eat a “healthy, balanced diet”, which means eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, have some dairy or dairy alternatives, eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs meat or other protein, choosing unsaturated oils and spreads, and drinking plenty of fruits.
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