The 6 Deadliest Foods For Your Heart That You Better Stay Far Away From
17.3 million people - both old and young- lose their lives every year to cardiovascular diseases! This World heart Day, take a pledge to secure yourself and your family from heart ailments, and together enjoy a long, healthy life.
The heart loves, the heart hates. It hurts and it rejoices. It kills us, and it makes us feel alive.
The heart is not just an organ – it’s the essence of who we are. And to keep that essence alive, we have to take care of our heart. On the occasion of World Heart Day, we bring to you the 6 foods that you must stay away from, in order to keep your heart healthy, ticking, and raring to go:
- Alcohol – No surprise there. Even though alcohol is good for your heart in little amounts (2 units a day for men and 1 for women), in this day and age, it’s difficult to find someone who sticks to this limit. Even the most rigorous of sticklers will weaken when the weekend arrives, or on special occasions. Drinking regularly above a certain limit can cause high blood pressure, an increase in the levels of blood fats, and weight gain, all of which are bad for the heart.
- Soft drinks and energy drinks – The accompaniment to many a meal, soft drinks are one of the most common sources of added sugar. 1 can of soda can contain between 50 and 60 grams of sugar. And don’t even think of going for the diet option. Diet sodas contain aspartame, which is worse for your heart, and for your weight, than even regular soda, with all its added sugars. Diet sodas make you crave more sugars, leading to weight gain, which, as we know, is an added pressure on the heart and puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have also linked diet sodas with diabetes, which is a factor in heart issues. Energy drinks, as the name suggests, are usually taken after a sleepless night or two. The ingredients in these drinks, such as guarana and taurine, mixed with the caffeine that these drinks contain, can cause a racing heartbeat, and even arrhythmia.
- Salt – Salt is the spice of life, right? Right. But only in limited amounts. High amounts of sodium can cause a spike in blood pressure, which can lead to long-term blood pressure problems that can, further, harden and narrow your arteries, leading to coronary disease. Stick to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sodium, which is 2,300 mg or less (less than 1 teaspoon!). People who are at risk of heart disease, or are above 50 years of age, should consume 1,500 mg or less of sodium. For your RDA, we highly recommend Himalayan pink salt instead of regular table salt. If you don’t want to compromise on taste, consider adding other spices to your food, such as cumin, turmeric, chilli powder etc.
- Fried foods – Fried foods are high in saturated fats and trans fat, which can spell doom for your heart. Trans fats increase LDL (bad cholesterol), while lowering HDL (good cholesterol). Most fried foods also contain a high amount of sodium. The worst of the lot, however, are French fries, which, according to recent study, can cause early death! So skip the fries, the chips, the fried chicken, the buttered popcorn, and other fried and devoid-of-nutrition foods. Go for baked options, or for options with less butter and salt.
- Processed meats – Those cold cuts might be appealing, but processed meats can wreak havoc on your heart. Processed meats are those that have been cured, smoked, salted, or fermented, so as to improve their shelf life. Convenience should never take precedence over health, especially heart health. Processed meats are full of saturated fats, and studies have linked them with not just heart failure, but also with cancer.
- Refined carbs – Be it condiments or pastries, white bread or white pasta, refined carbs have little to no fibre, turn into sugar in the body, and cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Choose whole grain breads and pastas, along with brown rice. These are digested slowly, thereby keeping your blood sugar in check. They also contain more fibre, which keeps one satiated, and hence, away from sugar or salt-laden snacks between meals.
To keep your heart healthy, stay away from the above-mentioned foods, or only have them occasionally and in moderation. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, have a regular exercise regime in place, and get regular check-ups.
To know more about the health of your heart, calculate your heart age vis-à-vis your actual age here – https://www.avivaindia.com/heart-age-calculator. Aviva India is one of the leading insurers of India and offers a wide range of healthcare products. Aviva heart care is India’s only plan dedicated to the heart that covers both you and your spouse. It is a non-linked, non-participating health insurance plan that covers 19 heart conditions and also provides for loss of income. Happy World Heart Day to you!
In association with Aviva Heart Care.