The heart is an incredible organ that keeps us alive. It requires energy sourced from food to pump blood to all body cells. However, not all foods are healthy for our hearts; some have been associated with stroke, angina pectoris and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction) Cardiologists recommend that individuals reduce, and if possible avoid the consumption of these 8 foods.
High amounts of red meat.
Red meats include those from lamb, beef, and veal. Animal fat, especially that from red meat, has high cholesterol and saturated fat amounts. These often narrow or damage the coronary arteries (arteries that supply the heart) and other arteries in our body, which deprive the heart of essential nutrients and oxygen, resulting in angina pectoris which proceeds to a heart attack. Chicken, fish, and turkey meat are better alternatives to these meats. One should also consider proteins sourced from plants, e.g., beans and tofu. Furthermore, an occasional intake may be considered.
Heavily processed meats such as hot dogs and bacon contain high amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Increased levels of sodium in our bodies alter the normal heartbeat rhythm, i.e., they can increase (tachycardia) or decrease (bradycardia) the heart rate. Again, small portions or intermittent intake of these meats is recommended.
As you might have noticed until now, saturated fats are an assault on a healthy heart. Fries contain high levels of saturated fat, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, they contain hydrogenated fats that are produced as a result of repeated exposure to high degrees of heat during the preparation process. These, too, are unhealthy for our hearts.
Soft drinks, such as soda, have excessive amounts of sugar added to them. Such sugar levels are associated with raised blood pressure, and weight gain that are known to increase the risk of heart diseases.
Most of us, if not all, are used to eating rice or a bowl of cereal at least once a day. Others take chapati and ugali along with huge chunks of red meat. The end product of digestion for each carbohydrate meal is glucose. Therefore, a huge intake of carbs reflects increased glucose levels in the blood. It can be especially dangerous if carbs are taken alone. High blood glucose may trigger insulin (a hormone that controls blood sugars) deficiency, leading to diabetes mellitus, which is a huge threat to a healthy heart. Smaller portions of carbs are better.
High-fat dairy products
Cardiologists prefer the intake of low-fat milk products like yogurt and cheese instead of whole milk to cut down on total fat intake. One may also replace milk with oat milk if available. However, individuals should not cut down on dairy products altogether, since they are reputable sources of nutrients.
The issue of margarine consumption comes with its own controversy. In fact, every cardiologist has their own opinion about it. Most of them recommend it as a healthier replacement for butter. Yes, some of the margarine on the market is healthy, but that may not always be the case. Margarine contains partially hydrogenated fats, which risk the overall well-being of the cardiovascular system. Consider purchasing one that has been tested and proven to be safe, or rather, use olive oil as an alternative.
The list would not be complete without mentioning pizza. It’s a great meal for some, but a meal to be avoided by those who are sensitive about their cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association flags pizza consumption since it has too much salt. Too much salt in the blood spells danger for the heart and blood supply. It's worse when taken regularly with the aforementioned foods. A piece or two per week is okay. For those who find it hard to minimize their intake, consider taking those that have plenty of veggies.