Many of us know that we should eat less unhealthy fats, reduce our salt take and exercise more, but here are a few things you might not have known:
1) Too much sugar and refined carbohydrate can be damaging to your heart
Refined carbohydrates are grains that have been processed down into things like white flour. It means less fibre and fibre helps to clear away cholesterol. Also, too much sugar raises a type of cholesterol in the body called triglycerides which thickens the blood and increase the risk of clotting. Research is starting to show that refined sugar is connected to inflammation in the body including the cardiovascular system. So drinking sugary beverages like pop every day, eating too many sweets and not getting enough whole grains may put you at greater risk of not only diabetes, but also heart disease.
My advice: Less processed sugar and more whole grains.
2) Eating too much processed meat can be damaging to your heart
Eating as little as one ounce of processed meats per week such as sausage, deli meats and bacon can increase your risk of heart disease by as much as 35%. While fresh red meat can increase our cholesterol, it doesn't have as negative of an effect as processed meats. The exact cause for this link between processed meats and heart disease is not completely understood, but it is suspected that the high salt levels and preservatives like nitrates may have something to do with it.
My advice:: Less processed meats and more fresh lean meats and fish.
3) Drinking too much alcohol can be damaging to your heart
A glass of wine has been found to help improve heart health, but too much can actually backfire on you. Too much alcohol can increase that cholesterol
triglycerides just like sugar and unhealthy fats does. A moderate amount of
alcohol is 2 drinks per day for men and 1.5 per day for women....this cannot be
banked up for the weekend (sorry folks). The good news is that a low to moderate intake of alcohol can be good for your heart (1 drink/day max). Not only is this found with wine, but also with beer and some hard liquors. Keep in mind this is for a standard drink: 30ml hard liquor, 60ml wine and 285ml for regular beer is a standard serving.
My advice: If you are not drinking, don't start. If you enjoy drinking alcohol, just keep your intake to the recommendations or less.