There is no denying that processed foods are convenient and easy to prepare. If you need a quick fix during the day or at night, a pack of cereal, processed meat, or a can of a sardine can help you get something into your belly quickly. Processed foods are also cheap and have a long shelf-life, making them easy to store and incorporate into your diet. But it is essential to be careful because processed foods can cause heart diseases.
What are processed foods?
Processed foods are those that have been altered during preparation, manufacturing, and packaging. This can be achieved through canning, drying, baking, and freezing.
Although not all processed food products are unhealthy, many contain high fat, sugar, and salt levels. Cereals, bread, snacks (chips, pies, biscuits, and pastries), bacon, sausages, and soft drinks, are typical examples of processed foods.
Why are processed foods bad for the heart?
Processed foods are convenient and translate to large amounts of sugar, calories, fats, saturated fatty acids, and sodium. These components, especially excess fatty deposits found in most processed foods, can narrow the arteries that supply the heart with blood, thereby narrowing the space in which blood can flow to the heart.
Processed foods are top on the list of foods bad for the heart because they are low in fibre and vitamins that are popular in fresh foods. Moreover, additives in processed foods make them foods that cause heart diseases because of their negative impact on cardiovascular health.
Not to forget that foods with high sodium content can cause high blood pressure, while the ones high in saturated fat can cause a spike in cholesterol levels. All these increase the chance of having heart disease when you consume lots of processed foods.
Here are five processed foods to remove from your diet to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Highly refined and processed grains and cereals
If there is a collection of processed foods that cause heart diseases, it has to be processed carbohydrates and grains. Consuming whole grain and refined carbohydrates (like low-fibre breakfast cereals, sweets, and sugars) regularly is problematic for several reasons.
For one, the high level of processing eliminates some of the most healthy components in whole grains. These healthy ingredients include minerals, dietary fiber, fatty acids, and phytochemicals. Also, refining these foods adds less healthy ingredients like sodium, trans fats, and sugars. All these increase the production of excess fats, which affects the heart.
Processed meats include hot dogs, sausage, bacon, turkey, and chicken. They are on the list of foods bad for the heart because these meats are preserved using nitrites, salts, and other preservatives. These ingredients, especially large amounts of salts, can increase your risk of heart disease.
It is typical for busy bees and college students to have instant noodles as a prominent part of their diet even though instant noodles are top among foods bad for the heart. It is best to reduce consumption because instant noodles contain high levels of salt that can increase your blood pressure. A packet of noodles can contain about 14 g of fat and a large quantity of sodium. The flavor packet also contains sodium and other additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), common ingredients in foods that cause heart diseases.
A significant number of margarine brands contain a lot of trans fats. The problem with trans fats is that they are unhealthier than other fats, including saturated fats. Trans fats spike up low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol in the body, which can lead to stroke and heart disease.
Although little drops of ketchup on your fries, chicken, and burgers are fine, slathering an enormous amount of ketchup is unhealthy. Ketchup falls among the food bad for the heart because the tomatoes are highly diluted with sugar and salt that offer no nutritional value. To be safe, make homemade ketchup with tomato paste and vinegar. Then you can mix it with a generous amount of salt and sugar to protect your heart.
You can reduce the risk of getting heart disease by eliminating these foods and eating healthily. Indeed, there are a variety of foods that prevent heart disease. The best advice you can get is to consume various foods from each food group. Be sure to have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
You can also opt for healthy protein sources (especially those found in fish and seafood). Legumes like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds are foods that can prevent heart disease. If you want red meat, ensure it is lean and limit it to 1-3 times a week.
In conclusion, although these five processed foods that cause heart disease are not recommended, if you are tempted to have them do so in moderation. You can have them once or twice a week. Moreover, you should do well by switching to foods that prevent heart disease. Incorporate fruits, veggies, nuts, fish, and vegetables into your diet. Go easy on refined carbs, processed meats, and foods with excess sodium, sugar, and trans fat.