Our heart is arguably the most vital organ of the body system. Heart diseases are mostly caused by the kinds of food we eat at every stage of life. Therefore it is important that we know what to eat and what not to eat. The foods listed below should be avoided because they have negative effect on the heart.
This is another case where people rag on it for a reason. Red meats have a considerable amount of cholesterol and saturated fat, as well as another terror called L-carnitine, which is why they make your doctor so nervous. Pros like Etherton advise patients to limit lean red meats to less than 10% of their average diet to play it safe, and don’t think you can get away with replacing your porterhouse with a pork chop. “A lot of people say pork isn’t red, so you’re okay,” Etherton says. “But it still has a lot of saturated fat, so you need to limit it as you would any red meat.
Processed meats (which includes bacon, ham, and hot dogs) has been proven to increase your risk of heart failure. But contrary to popular belief, Etherton says bacon isn’t the worst of the bunch. Sausage has a slight edge due to its higher saturated fat content, so you can feel marginally better about ordering a side of bacon strips over a side of sausage links for breakfast.
Veggies may be a cornerstone of a blood-pressure-friendly diet, but not the ones that come out of a can. The preservatives and sauces that keep the vitamin-filled veggies company inside the container are packed with sodium. Look for “no salt added” or “low sodium” options and be sure to rinse your veggies thoroughly before digging in.
POTATO & CORN CHIPS
There’s a lot of stuff health experts hate about your chips. They’re packed with carbs, sometimes high in trans fat, and, worst of all, swimming in sodium. And while your doctor is never going to be completely okay with a category of snacks literally dubbed junk food, Etherton recommends you read the labels so you can at least pick out a less gluttonous option. Also, maybe eat less than 10 servings in one sitting.
Frozen dinners may be quick and easy options when you’re time strapped, but they’re also loaded with sodium. Yes, even the healthy-sounding options. Two prime examples: Lean Cuisine’s Roasted Chicken and Garden Vegetables packs 620 milligrams of sodium and Special K’s Sausage, Egg & Cheese Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich carries 700 milligrams—or just under half a day’s worth. When you’re in the freezer aisle, look for meals with less than 500 milligrams per serving.
When it comes to your blood pressure and heart health, condiments matter. The ketchup you dip your fries into has 167 milligrams of salt per tablespoon. Scale back on the condiments to maintain your flat belly and keep your ticker in tip-top condition.
It is true that half cup of Hunter’s Tomato sauce packs a whopping 830 milligrams of sodium—which is more than you’d find in 97 Cheez-It crackers! To keep your blood pressure from spiking, look for jars of tomato sauce with fewer than 350 milligrams per half-cup serving. Both Amy’s Light in Sodium Organic Family Marinara and Ragu Light No Sugar Added Tomato & Basil fit the bill.
Soda bears the distinct honor of being the only item on this list to make our source straight-up sigh. “Sodas are really bad for you, they really are,” Etherton says. “There’s between 50 and 60 grams of sugar in a standard soda. And that’s processed sugar.” He would rather you drink some H20, but if you insist on more flavor, go with tea and honey.
When thrillist.com asked Etherton about the rumors about pizza, he said “The problem you run into with pizza is that it’s sort of like you’re being clobbered with large amounts of three items. The crust is high in carbs and sodium, and then, depending on cheese, it could have a fair amount of fat and sodium, and the sauce is usually prepared, so it’s also high in sodium. And that’s not even counting whatever you put on it.” He says you can undo some of the damage by ordering a whole-wheat crust pizza with olive oil, sliced tomatoes, and goat cheese, but we’re too busy weeping into our pepperoni pie to hear him.