May 29, 2015

Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Heart

Trans-fats--Trans-fats are found in most margarines, snack foods, heavily processed foods and some cooking oils. Read the label of your food carefully. Trans-fats are listed on food labels as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil). Trans-fats can reduce HDL ("good") cholesterol levels and raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.

Animal protein--Excessive protein from an animal source (meat, eggs, cheese, etc.) has been shown to raise levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid. You can eat meat, cheese and eggs but don't make that the largest percent of your diet. Add plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to satisfy your appetite.

Refined carbohydrates--A diet full of cookies, cakes, crackers, fluffy breads, chips and sodas can increase triglyceride levels and lower HDL. Avoid all products with "high fructose corn syrup." High fructose corn syrup is added to most carbonated beverages.

Salt (sodium)--Excessive salt in the diet has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Avoid processed and canned foods, taste foods before you salt them and do not add salt while cooking, avoid foods that are visibly salted and read the label (1,500 mg sodium per day is the suggested goal). Many food products have a "no salt added" version on the same self.