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The 3 Foods & Drinks You Need to Avoid for Your Heart’s Sake

We’re always reading magazine articles about the best foods for your health and by the time you get through the list, it just becomes overwhelming. From fruits and nuts, to veggies and lean meats…yes, they’re all good and adding them to the diet is really important. However, we consume a whole lot more than that and it is some of those unhealthy foods that create some real problems. So, let’s look at the five foods and drinks that you should consider avoiding:

  1. Diet soda, 0 calorie sweetener and any other sugar substitute. We all know that sugary drinks are bad for us, but did you know that even 0 calorie sweeteners stimulate the brain in the same way sugar does? In the end, they make us eat more and crave more sugar
  2. Many canned soups and broths. They may seem like a healthy option– After all, who ever thought that soup was bad for you? But most canned soups and broths are very high in sodium. Not only is sodium often implicated in long-term heart trouble, but it also desensitizes your taste buds, making food blander and requiring, you guessed it, more sugar and salt
  3. This seemingly healthy items on restaurant menus. To be sure, lean meats such a steak, grilled chicken and fish are all very heart healthy. But have you noticed that they taste so much better at the restaurant? It’s not because of the new and exciting atmosphere. Rather, it is because they are often inundated with butter – saturated fat – and sodium. While they may taste great, they’re doing no favors to your long-term heart health.

And a couple more tips we’d like to throw in. Don’t get hung up by the bad reputation that carbs, cholesterol and fats have gotten. It’s really not as simple as that:

  1. Carbs are important for energy – it’s what our bodies burn when we work out. So rather than quitting carbs entirely, think of the kinds of carbs you’re consuming. Avoid those white, empty carbs like sugar, white bread and pastries…instead, opt for whole grains (not multigrain) which are high in fiber and nutrients
  2. Fats are also incredibly important for our bodies, but we tend to over worry about them. Good, unsaturated fats are fantastic, while saturated and trans-fats are the ones to avoid. Case in point…avocados are about the most nutritious and healthy food you could eat, but they are VERY high in fat.
  3. Lastly, cholesterol. Yup, we want our cholesterol levels to be as low as possible, but we often take it too far, avoiding some amazingly healthy foods that happen to be very high in cholesterol, like shellfish. Shellfish, in actuality are amazingly healthy for you and should be a part of any heart healthy diet.

Ultimately, the key to great heart health is moderation. Keeping our weight in check as well as making sure we are receiving important nutrients and minerals in our daily diet will keep our hearts beating well for a long time to come.