Every single day, we make countless choices about what we put in our bodies. Some of those choices might be more harmful than we realize, especially regarding heart health. Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women? Heart health issues aren’t just a mere statistic; they’re a harsh reality for many in the United States.
While some factors like genetics and certain medications can contribute to heart-related health issues, our diet and lifestyle can often intensify the problem. One surefire way to look out for our hearts is to eat a balanced diet and be aware of certain foods that might not be the best for our ticker.
The Problem with Processed Foods
Processed foods often come packed with extra sugar. Add to that the troubling duo of sodium and saturated fat, and you have the recipe for potential heart problems.
Meats to Monitor:
- Processed Deli Meat: Dr. Raed Bargout warns that processed deli meats, like salami or bologna, can increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. It’s better to opt for freshly cooked meats like turkey or chicken.
- Pork: Caitlin Policastro points out two concerns with pork. First, it’s high in saturated fat, which can lead to cardiovascular issues and weight gain. Second, many pigs are given large doses of antibiotics and have difficulty eliminating toxins due to their basic digestive systems. This makes pork deli meats, which are also high in sodium, particularly concerning.
- Beef Jerky: This snack is high in sodium, which is essential for our health in the right amounts. However, consuming too much sodium can lead to hypertension, a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Dietitian Krutika Nanavati notes that a single serving of beef jerky can provide up to half of the recommended daily sodium intake.