Search for foods that are heart-healthy, and you’ll get lists of dark leafy greens, fresh seafood, whole grains, and other tasty options. What about foods that are bad for your heart? What foods are best eaten in strict moderation, or avoided completely?
High Fat Foods and Processed Meats
While fried foods are most commonly mentioned when it comes to hearth health, there are other foods that are bad for your heart. Any meat that comes in a can, or is highly seasoned, or comes ground and mixed with multiple ingredients, is likely to score low on the heart-health checklist. Sausage is particularly full of sodium, nitrates, and saturated fats, making it one of the worst offenders. Canned and “cold” meats are similarly loaded with sodium and nitrates, not to mention fats which clog arteries and put extra strain on your heart. Processed meats should be cut out of the diet if at all possible. Potential replacements include fresh meats prepared with heart-healthy methods like sautéing in olive oil, grilling, or even baking. Even the previously villianized red meat has a place on the plate, if eaten in moderation.
Carbs and Refined Sugars
Most people don’t think of soda as being bad for their hearts, but the extreme amounts of refined sugar in most soft drinks are hard on your ticker. Elevated blood glucose is hard on the heart because of its effect on the liver- elevated sugar causes the liver to dump fats into the bloodstream. High sugar levels also raise blood pressure, putting even more pressure on your heart.
There’s bad news about sugar-free “diet” option as well- some studies show that the chemicals in diet sodas upset the balance of gastrointestinal bacteria, making people more prone to weight gain. For optimum hydration, water can’t be beat. Flavoring can be added with infusions of fresh fruit, or try flavored teas. Fruit juices and mixes may have just as much sugar as soda, so be careful with replacing carbonated sugar water with those.
Dr. Ciuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program
Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to ensuring your heart is healthy. If you are in need of heart surgery and have any questions or how you should prepare for it, feel free to contact us at (330) 588-4676 or visit our contact page online.