Some of the most delicious foods that we all grew up enjoying weekly, can be hazardous to our heart health, as we get older. Have you ever asked a cardiologist (or heart expert) what he or she eats, to help reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke?
We did some online research to come up with this list of seven foods that cardiologists avoid, for the sake of health and personal wellness. If heart health is a concern for you, check out this list of foods you should remove from your grocery cart. Your heart will thank you.
1. Retail Energy Drinks
In April of 2017, a new clinical study abstract called “Randomized Controlled Trial of High-Volume Energy Drink Versus Caffeine Consumption on ECG and Hemodynamic Parameters,” provided new information on the impact of retail energy drinks on heart health. The Article was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAMA).
The report states that while there is sufficient documentation to claim that caffeine in moderated amounts is safe, there has not been enough research to determine the safety of caffeine, when consumed in mixed-ingredient beverages, and in larger (or daily) quantities.
Another important opinion to consider, about the safety of retail energy drinks, comes from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a Mayo Clinic medical and rehabilitation specialist. Laskowski stated for an article in LIVESTRONG, that ‘energy drinks may negatively impact a person’s moods and emotional health’.
The intense emotional effects of the rapid energy rise, combined with the carbohydrate and caffeine crash, are of greater concern for individuals who have depression or clinical anxiety disorders, and have been shown to disrupt healthy sleep patterns, in some studies.
2. Frozen Foods
Frozen prepared foods are a solution that many people use, to get through the busy work week. If you have frozen vegetables or fruit for your smoothies, take heart; raw fruits and vegetables are okay. But the prepared microwave meals, snacks and breaded items may need to go, if you are addressing heart health concerns.
Frozen meals are generally too low in vegetables and fruit, and very high in preservatives that help keep the small meals fresh for consumers. They may be low in calories, but can be high in carbohydrates (sugar) and of course in sodium.
How much? Some sources indicate that the average amount of sodium in a frozen lunch or dinner meal, is 700 – 1800 mg. The daily maximum is about 2,300 mg; as an occasional meal frozen dinners may be okay, but they should not be confused as a healthy alternative, or long-term weight loss strategy.
3. Carbonated Drinks and Soda
Dr. Frank Hu, is a Professor of Medicine, for the Harvard Medical School and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a Director of the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC) Epidemiology and Genetics Core. He is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on obesity.
Dr. Hu conducted a 22-year study on the implications of soda and other sweetened beverages on health, following 43,000 males. The study revealed that chronic over consumption of sodas and high sugar beverages, increased triglycerides (blood sugar) and decreased HLD (the good cholesterol), and his research revealed a 20% increase in heart attack risk, and Type II diabetes.
4. Potato Chips
They are crispy, tasty and available at the counter of every convenience store. But potato chips are very high in fat, which contributes to atrial clogging (artery blockages from fat deposits). The New England Journal of Medicine, in one study, revealed that one-ounce of potato chips per day, lead to a weight gain of approximately 2 pounds over a four-year period. That’s about 15 individual chips. That may not sound like a lot, but the study compared those rates to weight gain from other food sources (including sugary beverages and processed meats), which were less harmful, to patients followed in the long-term study.
A fat substitute that was introduced as ‘healthier’ in processed snacks (Olestra) helped food manufacturers lower the fat content. But the additive (while cleared for use by the FDA) has been studied, and reportedly increases other side-effects that can be detrimental to heart health, and symptoms of premature aging.
5. Fried Foods
Oil becomes carcinogen and free radicals are formed when food is cooked at high oil temperatures. Hydrogenated oil is the most commonly used for cooking in both restaurants and at home. But since it is common practice for oil to be used multiple times before discarding, each time foods are fried, the composition of the oil changes.
More oil is absorbed into the food, and the oil breaks down and develops carcinogenic compounds, raising cholesterol and hypertension (blood pressure) levels.
It’s delicious, and it is low-carb, but no matter how excited we get about bacon, it is still relatively bad for your, and not recommended for consumption on a daily basis. Few cardiologists will eat bacon, because they understand the high level of sodium (even in salt-reduced products) and the negative health implication of nitrates.
It is estimated that the average American eats about 18 pounds of bacon per year. But four slices of thick cut bacon has about 240 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat and 40% of your daily recommended intake of salt (sodium) or 880 mg. This high-dose (no matter how delicious) of salt is bad for blood pressure and is linked to an increase rate of heart attacks and stroke.
7. Canned Foods
It’s common knowledge that sodium or salt, is an ingredient necessary to extend the shelf life of canned foods, including meats and vegetables. But inside of most commercial can linings, is a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA), which can cause harm.
Bisphenol A (BPA) obstructs the way that the human body produces and regulates important hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone and insulin. Increased consumption of canned foods has been linked to increased oxidative stress, specific types of cancers (breast and prostate) and diabetes. High levels of BPA are also suspected of increasing the risk of Type II diabetes, heart disease and kidney damage.
If your goal is to improve what you eat, and nutritionally balance your diet, make a positive healthy change and reduce (or avoid) processed and convenience foods. Opt to bake or grill, instead of deep fry favorite foods, and incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet for good health.