Heart Health: Five Foods Cardiologists Want You to Avoid

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18.2 million Americans over the age of 20 have coronary artery disease. Age, family history, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes and excess weight are common causes.

Though many Americans are eating a modestly healthier diet now as compared to a decade ago, coronary artery disease remains the most common type of heart disease in the United States. It is also the leading cause of death among men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups. As you probably already know, the foods you eat have a lot to do with heart health. You also probably know that you should eat more leafy greens and whole grains as well as avoid foods that are high in fats and sugars. However, you might be surprised to learn there are several seemingly innocuous foods sitting in your pantry right now that could damage your heart.

Five foods your cardiologist wants you to avoid

Here are some of the lesser-known worst foods for your heart:

  1. Rotisserie chicken
    Though this is a quick, delicious dinner option it can put you at risk for heart damage. Rotisserie chicken is loaded with sodium and saturated fats. Regular consumption of saturated fats is one of the most common causes of heart failure and cardiac disease. So, the next time you need dinner in a hurry, reach for chicken breasts instead and put them on the grill.
  2. Premade fruit smoothies
    Premade, bottled fruit smoothies may look like a healthy, refreshing way to satisfy your mid-day cravings but take a closer look at the nutrition label. So many are packed with added sugars that can damage your heart. These store-bought smoothies are rarely fortified with fiber, which is an important ingredient to help regulate blood lipid levels.
  3. Microwave popcorn
    You don’t need to give up the perfect movie snack, but you do need to choose wisely. So many are loaded with trans fats. Look for one with minimal ingredients as well as lower fat and sodium levels.
  4. White rice
    Yes, really. White rice is a highly processed carbohydrate that can lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels. It carries the same risk as white bread or pasta. Switch over to brown rice instead for your next meal. It has more fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and it will help keep you fuller for longer.
  5. Reduced-fat peanut butter
    Don’t be fooled, peanut butter is loaded with healthy fats. When you choose a reduced-fat version, you are probably sacrificing good fats for loads of sugar to compensate for flavor. Added sugars can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

You can improve your heart health with simple lifestyle changes like engaging in daily physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest. But don’t forget that it’s equally important to look closely at nutrition labels to avoid eating the foods and ingredients that are bad for your heart. The skilled specialists at Amory Urgent Care are here If you need us. We’re open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. for walk-in appointments.