What Foods Are Bad For Your Heart?

What Foods Are Bad For Your Heart?

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One of the biggest ways to keep your heart healthy is to watch what you eat and to make sure you are fueling your body with heart-healthy foods. We’ve grown accustomed to certain foods, and not all of them are good.

Foods To Avoid

There are some foods that are just bad for your heart and you really shouldn’t eat. Whether you’ve had heart problems before or just want to make healthier choices, avoid these foods.

Fast Food Burgers

Fast food restaurants tend to use lower-quality ingredients and unhealthy cooking methods. They tend to be loaded with saturated fats and that combination with carbohydrates is not good for the heart. 

Processed And Cured Meats

Cured meats, like bacon and sausage, are high in saturated fats. Even low-fat options are still loaded with sodium which is bad for the heart because it can raise blood pressure. 

Fried Foods

This includes french fries, chicken and deep-fried snacks cooked in a conventional frying method. They are loaded with trans fats, which raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. If you cook at home using the right kinds of oil, you can cut out some of the unhealthy fats.

Candy

Diets high in sugar contribute to obesity, inflammation, high cholesterol and diabetes all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Soft drinks and sugar-sweetened juices are an equal threat and are sometimes consumed more than candy. They contain a lot of sugar which is not good for a heart-healthy diet.

Sugary Cereals

Somes cereals are loaded with sugar. Combined with the carbohydrates they contain and it can produce inflammation causing blood sugar to go up and down making people crave more sugar throughout the day.

Baked Goods

Including cookies and pastries, especially ones commercially produced, they are loaded with sugar and usually made with saturated or trans fats.

Margarine

Often touted as being healthier, this actually contains trans fats. Only ones that are soft, spreadable and don’t contain any partially hydrogenated oils should be used.

What Foods Should Heart Patients Avoid?

People with heart issues need to be more mindful about what they are eating. In addition to the foods listed above, heart patients should avoid these kinds of foods as well.

High Salt Foods

This isn’t just table salt, but also canned foods, frozen dinners, even condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise and soy sauce.

Certain Proteins

There are some proteins that should be avoided including:

  • Spareribs
  • Organ meats
  • Bacon
  • Hot dogs or sausages
  • Fatty or marbled meats
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Fried or breaded meats

Unhealthy Fats

There are some healthy fats that can be consumed, but heart patients really need to limit:

  • Butter
  • Gravy
  • Cream sauce
  • Non-dairy creamers

What 3 Foods Cardiologists Say To Avoid?

Cardiologists recognize the impact certain foods have on the heart and they see what damage the wrong foods can do. They say these foods cause heart disease and should be avoided:

 

Processed Meats 

Including bacon and sausage. As we mentioned before, they are loaded with salt, saturated fats and added ingredients like nitrates. They have also been linked to cancer.

Processed And Packaged Snacks

Full of simple carbs, salt and sugar. A trifecta of bad items for the heart.

Desserts

They are full of added sugars and should only be indulged in very moderately, maybe once a week.

What Foods Cause Clogged Arteries?

Many of the bad foods can cause clogged arteries, but there are some foods that clog arteries the worst. Clogged arteries are the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances that line the artery walls. This obstructs blood flow leading to heart attacks and other serious issues.

These foods are the worst culprits of clogged arteries:

Saturated Fats

It can be found in certain oils, but is mainly found in animal products and is the main culprit of plaque buildup. It is found in:

  • Whole milk and cream
  • Butter
  • High-fat cheese
  • High-fat meats (ones that look marbled)
  • Processed meats
  • Ice cream

Trans Fats

This is a type of man-made fat found more commonly in partially hydrogenated oils. It is often in processed foods to prolong shelf life and improve flavor. It is found in:

  • Fried food
  • Fast food
  • Frozen pizza
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Margarine
  • Cookies and other dessert items

Cholesterol

Found only in animal products like cheese, eggs and meat, it can raise LDL known as the bad cholesterol. People should only consume 200 mg of cholesterol in food each day.

What Foods Should Be Avoided With Heart Disease?

People with heart disease really should avoid sugars, salts and fats because all three of these things not only contribute to heart issues, but can make them worse. As good as some of these foods are, people with heart disease should avoid these specific foods (1):

  • Bacon
  • Red meat
  • Soda
  • Baked goods
  • Processed meats
  • White rice, bread and pasta
  • Pizza
  • Alcohol
  • Butter
  • Full-fat yogurt
  • Fried food 
  • Canned soup
  • Ranch dressing
  • Ice cream
  • Potato chips

What Are The Best Foods to Eat After a Heart Attack?

So now that we know all the foods to avoid for a heart attack, let’s take a look at some foods you should eat, especially if you’ve already had a heart attack. The common theme with a heart-healthy diet revolves around whole, natural foods. Make sure to include plenty of (2):

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Skinless poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Plant-based oils like olive oil
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Fish like salmon, trout or herring

Water

Water is the best drink anyone should consume, not just those looking for a heart-healthy option. If you are used to more flavor, try adding a lemon, berry or cucumber.

Eating Styles

There are many heart-healthy diet options to choose from such as Meditteranean and DASH. Both emphasize fresh foods and are more plant-based including healthy fats like olive oil. The DASH diet puts specific restrictions on sodium, but the Meditteranean Diet, since it includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, is naturally low in sodium.

Supplements For Heart Health

The basis for healthy living starts at the cellular level and heart health is no different. While we cannot claim to heal or cure any illness, spermidine is a supplement that triggers the body’s own cellular renewal process known as autophagy.

Autophagy is when the body recycles old, damaged cell components that can lead to illnesses and other health issues, in order for these cells to retain their health. Spermidine is found naturally in many of the foods we eat, but we often don’t get enough through diet alone. As we age, cellular growth and development slows down which is why spermidine supplements can help the body’s natural cellular renewal process stay strong.




Resources: 

  1. Foods That are Bad for Your Heart
  2. Foods to Eat and Avoid After a Heart Attack