Despite knowing that certain food might harm your heart health, changing already built eating habits is tough. But after all, habits are habits, and they get changed over time. Knowing what you eat is important to have a healthy heart. It doesn’t matter if you have some years of an unhealthy diet under your belt, or you are just about to start a fine diet. We came here with a list of foods that might harm your heart health.
Refined or natural, sugar is simple carbohydrates, that your body converts into glucose to provide energy. Natural sugar comes from natural sources such as fruits (Fructose) and dairy products (lactose). Foods that have natural sugars provide essential nutrients to prevent certain diseases such as cancer.
On the other hand, we extract refined sugar from sugarcane and sugar beets after processing them. Refined sugar is sucrose (a combination of glucose and fructose) and we use it in our everyday routine in tea, coffee, and cookies, etc.
When you eat something with added sugar, your body starts breaking the carbohydrates and give rise to your blood sugar. Resulting in the body begins releasing insulin. Adding more sugar in your diet will lead your body towards obesity, which is the root cause of cardiovascular disease.
Experts say that people who are not overweight but have a sugar-laden diet, are more prone to dying of heart disease.
Salt and Sodium
Can you name any Pakistani main course cuisine that doesn’t have salt in it? I tried hard to think of it but can’t find the answer.
Food may seem tasteless without salt, but have we ever gave it a thought that how unhealthy it could be to consume too much salt for our heart health?
Salt minerals have electrolytes that are essential to regulate fluid balance and muscle contraction. We can’t deny its importance, but we should also know the fact that the human body needs a small amount of salt as 1-2 grams per day only. The maximum amount of salt intake is 5 grams a day that is equivalent to one teaspoon.
Sadly, most of us eat food to overcome our pangs of hunger without knowing the nutritional facts. Apart from sodium found in salts, many other foods contain natural sodium such as beets, carrots, spinach, meat, etc. Taking natural sodium doesn’t require any added table salt.
However, salt adds flavor and taste to our meals, but we should not forget that salt and sodium are associated with fluid retention and high blood pressure as well. Eating an excessive amount of salt in your daily meals can lead you to have hypertension and obesity, and both of them have connections with heart diseases.
Despite knowing the side effects of fried food, the generation Z loves to have fried and high-caloric food on the go. Fried food and fried items have become a common lifestyle now. If we exclude fast food from this list, still there are several traditional meals that we can’t think of making without excessive oil.
Fried foods have a heavy amount of fats, calories, and most of the time immoderate amounts of salts too. Oily, deep-fried, and high-caloric foods increase the bad cholesterol and decrease the good cholesterol giving rise to the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, fat-laden foods can cause high cholesterol and raise your blood pressure, whereas both of them are threats to healthy heart life.
Processed meat (bacon, Deli, sausages), processed cheese, packaged food, sugary cereals, canned food, instant soups, frozen foods, and the list goes on…!
In our busy lives and tough schedules, we find it quite handy to have them, to save our time and energy than cooking something healthy. Regardless of how bad these foods are for our heart health, the rate of consuming them regularly is increasing insanely.
Processed foods are treated with chemicals and additives (artificial flavors and colors) to enhance their taste and to make their shelf life longer. They have high amounts of sugar, calories, and salts. On the other hand, they lack important nutrients, fibers, and minerals that are necessary for heart health.
Consuming this chemical-based food daily can cause a spike in your blood sugar level, inflammation, damage in your gastrointestinal system, and massive damage to your heart health.
WHO published a report about the risk of premature deaths due to NCDs (non-communicable diseases) in 2016. The report says that annually 29% of Pakistani citizens die due to CVD (cardiovascular diseases). Probably, the number might have increased in the past four years. As the nation is adapting more unhealthy eating habits despite returning towards a natural and healthy lifestyle.
If you want to be as fit as a fiddle, you MUST start a healthy and fine diet by NOW.
Morgan Spurlock says:
“Sorry, there’s no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy and look healthy. End of story.”