Your heart’s worst enemies: Dietitians warn against this pair of artery-clogging foods

Maintaining a healthy heart is a top priority for many of us. Diet plays a vital role in heart health and there are certain foods you should be wary of.

Dietitian Trista Best and nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, Lisa Richards, stress the importance of steering clear of two specific artery-clogging foods to keep your heart in good shape [12].

Trans fats: Silent heart threats

Trans fats are notorious for their adverse impact on heart health [3]. These artificially created fats are commonly found in processed foods like baked goods, margarine and fried fast foods.

They are highly detrimental because they raise the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in your blood and lower the “good” HDL cholesterol, creating a double whammy for your arteries.

Trans fats are like silent invaders, gradually building up in your arteries and narrowing them over time. This restricts blood flow, increasing the risk of heart disease.

To safeguard your heart, read food labels diligently and avoid items that list “partially hydrogenated oils” as an ingredient, as this is a telltale sign of trans fats.

Saturated fats: A culprit in disguise

Saturated fats, usually found in red meat, full-fat dairy products and some tropical oils, have long been recognized as threatening to heart health [4].

Consuming too much-saturated fat can raise your LDL cholesterol levels, contributing to the buildup of artery-clogging plaque.

The danger with saturated fats lies in their deceptive nature. Unlike trans fats, they occur naturally in various foods. This can make it more challenging to identify and limit them in your diet.

It’s essential to moderate your intake of foods high in saturated fats and opt for leaner protein sources, such as poultry and fish. Additionally, consider using healthier cooking oils like olive or canola oil, which are lower in saturated fat.

7 Tips for a heart-healthy diet

1. Embrace unsaturated fats

Instead of trans and saturated fats, focus on incorporating unsaturated fats into your diet [5]. These can be found in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon. Unsaturated fats help raise HDL cholesterol, promoting heart health.

2. Load up on fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber and various heart-protective nutrients. Aim to pack half your plate with colorful produce at each meal.

3. Choose whole grains

Opt for brown rice, whole wheat bread and quinoa over refined grains. They are higher in fiber and can help control cholesterol levels.

4. Mind your portions

Portion control is vital. Even heart-healthy foods can contribute to weight gain and heart issues when consumed excessively.

5. Limit added sugars

Excess sugar can lead to weight gain and aggravate the risk of heart disease. Be mindful of sugary beverages and heavily processed sweets.

6. Stay hydrated

Water is essential for overall health, including heart health. The consumption of plenty of water helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body.

7. Regular exercise

Physical activity is a crucial part of heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

A healthier heart begins with the right food choices. Avoid artery-clogging trans fats and moderating saturated fat intake [6].

Instead, incorporate heart-healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet. Combine this with a physically active lifestyle and you’ll be taking significant steps toward safeguarding your heart for years.

Your heart’s health is in your hands, so make the right choices today for a happier, healthier tomorrow.

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[1] https://balanceone.com/pages/trista-best
[2] http://thecandidadiet.com/about-us
[3] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000786.htm
[4] https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats
[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702
[6] https://www.shefinds.com/collections/artery-clogging-fatty-foods-avoid-healthier-heart/

Photograph: stevanovicigor/Envato
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