Heart Health; 8 Foods to Limit or Avoid All Together

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Have you ever heard the saying, “Let food be they medicine?” Well, it couldn’t be more true, most especially today when we know so much more about heart health than ever before.

With over 600,000 Americans dying each year of heart disease; which according to the CDC is the leading cause of death for both men and women, it’s time to really be aware of what it’s in our control to keep our hearts healthy.

According to Dr. Sharonne Hayes, professor of cardiovascular medicine and founder of the Women’s Heart Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, “It isn’t about the occasional Cheeto or piece of cheesecake that is going to kill you, but it really is what you eat and how much you eat that’s so critical.”

There are a number of choices we make each day that can have a negative impact on our bodies, such as drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or choosing not to exercise. But did you know the #1 health choice you make every single day is what foods you eat?

Food is truly medicine, or poison, to your system and how it functions; which is why it’s vitally important to know which foods are the biggest culprits. Keeping in mind that moderation and balance is key, here are 8 foods to limit or avoid all together.


As a country, we are obsessed about low card, high protein, because many believe this is best choice for weight control, but we are eating two times as much protein than our bodies need in a day and that can have a dire affect on our kidneys down the road.

High protein diets can also raise LDL, or bad cholesterol; which then in turn affects the heart. A balanced diet that follows Harvard Health’s Healthy Eating Plate that includes healthy proteins like fish, poultry, beans and nuts is the way to go.


On this same subject of protein, eating meat from time to time and in moderation is ok, but try to avoid processed meats (like meats from the deli counter) because they’re high in calories, saturated fat, contain tons of salt and have added ingredients like nitrates.

In addition, it’s not only heart health that can be affected by foods like hot dogs, salami, ham or jerky, it’s also been found that eating processed meats causes cancer.


Pouches of salty, crunchy, fatty carbs, such as those found in a vending machine may seem convenient at times of hunger, but they are the enemy to your heart. Simple carbs found in chips, certain breads and crackers can be a bigger culprit than fat.

Instead consider packing a little bag of nuts, carrot sticks or any food from nature to keep hunger in check, while also doing something healthy for your heart.


These crazy drinks that have mislead the public can contain added sugar and ingredients that can induce problems such as high blood pressure and arrhythmia; which is irregular beating of the heart.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid caffeine. Coffee and teas are actually healthful in moderation every day, especially when not blasted with sugars, fatty milk or whipped cream.


Be aware! Coconut oil is not healthy, it actually contains more saturated fat than LARD!

Coconut oil is so bad for your heart that it is used to induce atherosclerosis; which is plaques of fat in the walls of the arteries, in rats and other laboratory animals. This plaque builds up over time causing narrowing of the arteries and blood flow to the brain and heart.


Did you know most Americans eat too much salt, generally three to four time the recommended daily amount? Most of the time people are unaware of how much salt they’re eating because it’s jam-packed into everything from cereal to the pickle on your sandwich.

High sodium diets lead to high blood pressure; which is the silent killer because unless tested often, you wouldn’t know you have it. Read labels before buying anything from a shelf and be aware of the recommended 2300 milligrams of sodium each day; which is equal to about 1 teaspoon of table salt.


This is where moderation is essential. Sugar is not only high in calories and is linked to obesity, it’s also highly inflammatory; which is the underlying cause of most diseases. Enjoy a dessert like pie, ice cream or a candy bar from time to time, but also be aware of the after-affects this food can have on your body.


This type of food should go unsaid on this list, but because it’s still so convenient and available everywhere, it’s important to mention again and again. Not only is fast food sodium-packed and full of saturated fats, you also don’t know where the food sources are coming from.

Think big picture when you think about eating fast foods and ask yourself, how am I going to feel afterwards, what am I doing to my body? Thankfully many fast food restaurants now offer healthier options that include vegetables, if you must, opt for them instead of the fried foods and burgers.

Source: Today Show; Heart Health Tips: 8 Foods Cardiologists Try to Avoid

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