How often do you consume processed foods?Do you take frozen meals to work or grab fast food as a quick option? Choosing these options frequently can increase your risk of high cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to life-threatening heart disease. Here are a few foods to limit or completely avoid:
· Processed meats. Processed foods in general have high levels of salt and other preservatives. Meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami and other deli meats are detrimental to the heart. Eating just a few slices of deli meat can contain half the recommended level of sodium for an entire day.
· Processed grains and carbohydrates. Foods such as white bread, white rice and low-fiber cereal can produce high spikes in blood sugar while increasing fat.
· Candy. Diets with high sugar can increase risk of obesity, inflammation, high cholesterol and diabetes. Each of these factors can contribute to a greater risk of heart disease.
· Soft drinks and sugar-filled drinks. Americans are consuming more high calorie drinks.Each can of soda consumed is equal to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Sugary drinks increase your chances of gaining weight and add additional calories.
· Fast food. Fast food restaurants tend to use lower quality ingredients and unhealthy cooking methods. A combination of saturated fats from animals combined with carbohydrates can have a deteriorating effect on heart health. Frying methods also create trans-fat which leads to an increase in high cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.
· Frozen Meals. Most frozen dinners are filled with at least 600 milligrams of sodium.
Improving your diet can have a great impact on your long-term health. It may be difficult to completely cut these foods out, but set a goal to limit these foods in your diet. High levels of salt, preservatives and sugar increase your chances of high blood pressure, blood sugar and obesity, potentially leading to heart disease. The best way to make a change is by focusing on what you should eat, rather than focusing on what is off-limits.