Bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and ham are a major part of many Americans’ diets, but these products are literally dripping with saturated fats. Furthermore, we already know that sausages and processed meats have been linked to cancer and heart failure. What exactly is processed meat? Processed meat refers to meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, or smoked to increase its shelf life. While these foods are convenient, the chemicals and sodium that are used in processed foods are harmful to our hearts, especially when eaten in larger quantities.
2. Red Meat
A tender and juicy steak topped with some delicious mushroom sauce is a meal that you might want to reserve for special occasions. That tasty steak is full of saturated fats, salt, and cholesterol. When you do consume red meat, you should look for leaner cuts such as eye of round roast, top sirloin, top roast, and sirloin tips. Use spices and herbs for flavour and stay away from butter, cream, and hollandaise sauce.
3. Potato Chips
It’s very easy to plow through a bag of potato chips, but this snack is full of trans-fats, carbs, and sodium. A study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 99/2% of people worldwide consume more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium every day – the recommended amount is 1,500 milligrams per day. Those who consume more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium a day account for 1 in 10 cardiovascular deaths. Does this mean you have to give up potato chips for your next Netflix binge? Well, if you cannot give up potato chips, try switching to baked chips.
A weekly pizza night is something that a lot of people enjoy, but, unfortunately, the only thing we pick up from a pizzeria is a giant carbohydrate topped with salt and processed cheese. You don’t have to completely give up your favorite dinner of the week, you just have to order a healthier version with mushrooms, peppers, and less pepperoni. Another option is to make a healthier version at home using whole wheat flour, olive oil, and fresh goat cheese.
5. Diet Soda
The aspartame in diet soda is actually worse for you than high fructose corn syrup or sugar and can make you crave sweet things. Diet soda can lead to weight gain and being overweight isn’t good for your heart. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese. Being obese puts you at a much higher risk for heart issues such as stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
6. Table Salt
We all love to season our food with salt, but salt can cause issues with blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, your arteries can narrow and harden, resulting in a greater chance of heart disease. Therefore, if you’re already struggling with high blood pressure, limit your salt intake and introduce your salt-craving taste buds to spices such as curry, cumin, rosemary, garlic, and cinnamon. This will help to significantly lower your high blood pressures.
7. Frosting in a Jar
Not many of us can wait for the cake to cool before we dive into that jar of frosting, but as tempting as it is, you really should limit the amount of frosting that you eat. Besides being full of preservatives and ingredients that you cannot pronounce, it’s a sugar nightmare for your heart. A typical jar of frosting can contain as much as 20 grams per 2 tablespoons. Let’s be honest, how many of us use just two tablespoons of frosting on a cake? When it comes to added sugars, the American Heart Association recommends 36 grams per day for men and 24 grams per for women.
You want to limit the amount of white starches that you consume because it just turns into sugar. You should look for whole grain breads, which contain more fiber than white varieties and are digested much slower, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the whole grains provide more fiber, which will help you feel fuller for longer so that you’re less likely to have those sugar crashes and reach for some sugary snacks between meals.
9. Energy Drinks
Most energy drinks claim that they’re a healthy way to boost your energy. However, ingredients such as guarana and taurine are touted as natural energy boosters but are not regulated. Mix these ingredients with caffeine and you could be setting yourself up with a racing heartbeat. This, coupled with a lack of sleep, which is why people generally drink energy drinks in the first places, is a bad combination.
10. Deep Fried Chicken
Americans love deep-fried chicken. It might be tasty, but it has no nutritional redeeming value. Deep fried food is bad for your heart, bad for your waistline, and brings oxidants into your system. Oxidants are the arch nemesis of antioxidants. Deep frying involves hot oil and that changes the structure of antioxidants and vitamins. Therefore, you’re not only getting added calories and fat, but you’re also getting cell-damaging oxidants.