Everyone knows that a strong heart is a must for a healthy life, and that it’s not just exercise that keeps it that way. Earlier this year, we talked about what foods and nutrients are great for keeping your ticker going strong. In this post, we’re looking beyond the obvious artery-busters (we’re talking about you, doughnuts) and into some unexpected foods that are better left on the shelf. Your heart and your health will thank you.
Canned soup can be an easy, quick lunch or dinner when you’re in a hurry. But you’ll slow down quick if you’re sidelined by high blood pressure, which can worsen with sodium intake. Most canned soups contain salt as a flavor enhancer, but at the average rate of 1,700 mg per can, that’s 200 mg beyond the daily recommended dose of sodium for people with high blood pressure. For folks without high blood pressure, the daily recommended intake is still just 2,300 mg, so even then, a can of chicken noodle can quickly add up to more than you bargained for.
The high sugar content of soda is no surprise to most of us. Increased sugar intake and empty calories can pack on the pounds quickly, leading to obesity and even heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends 6 tsp of sugar per day for women and 9 tsp for men to keep obesity at bay. The average soda has 8 tsp, so just one can put you over the edge. We know you’re thinking you can just grab the diet version of your favorite soda, but studies have also linked diet soda to cardiovascular problems. Just say no!
Air-popped popcorn is a safe treat, but microwave and movie theater popcorn with butter often have an abundance of trans fats. Trans fats can raise “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels, leading to fatty deposits in the arteries. The AHA recommends a max of 2 grams of trans fats per day; popular popcorn brands often pack as much as 5 grams in just one serving. (P.S. the whole bag is way more than one serving!)
White bread, white rice and white flour are basically just gumming up the circulatory works inside your body. In 2010, Italian researchers linked these rapidly absorbed carbs to an increase in heart disease in women. Slowly absorbed carbs are better overall for heart health.
Keeping your heart healthy is a priority for us at Doctors Express. By substituting better foods like homemade soup, tea, air-popped popcorn and whole grain carbohydrates, you’ll be doing your heart a favor and keeping us from worrying!
Do you have a favorite heart-healthy food? Share your top picks with us!