Heart disease is the silent killer that causes many deaths in the United States, according to the Heart Foundation. It actually takes more lives than all types of cancer combined. Statistics reveal that a new person has a heart attack every 34 seconds in the U.S.
With such frightening numbers, each one of us should be seriously concerned about heart health, even people who do not suffer from any issues at the moment. An unbalanced or unhealthy diet is all it takes to a heart disease, apart from genetics.
We all know that a deep dish pepperoni pizza and a juicy burger are bad for your heart. But, what we usually miss is that some of the seemingly healthy snacks are worse off for your dear heart.
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#10 – Snap Pea Crisps
Snap Pea Crisps are a tempting snack that is widely advertised to be healthy. Because these crisps come with a label that says made from whole green peas, we automatically assume it is a great option.
While this might be true, it is also very true that the crisps are mixed with corn, vegetable oil, and salt. Vegetable oils have very high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which are harmful to the heart.
Research in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that an excess of polyunsaturated fat increases the chances of death from coronary artery disease. Try to control your urge to have these processed, packaged snap peas, and switch to the fresh varieties.
#9 – Smoothies
You’ve probably thought, what could be healthier than a fruit smoothie? While fruit smoothies may sound like a perfect healthy afternoon snack, many are actually bad for your heart because they are filled with fat and sodium.
The Shredder Vanilla smoothie, for instance, from Smoothie King is packed with 592 mg of salt into just one drink. As stated by the American Heart Association, most adults shouldn’t exceed 1500 mg of salt per day.
So, this Smoothie, in particular, has 1/3 of your recommended salt intake for the day. Just skip it and have a fresh fruit instead.
#8 – Bran Muffin
Bran muffins seem to be the perfect healthy baked goodie for breakfast. However, this is far from being true. Most bran muffins you find in restaurants and stores are high in sugar. This dreadful, sweet substance can significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Bran Muffins are not only full of sugar, but they are made up with refined flour, salt, and oil which are all bad for the heart if taken in large amounts.
#7 – Canned Vegetables
Vegetables are the foundation of a heart-healthy diet. However, those veggies that come in a can are full of preservatives and salt to keep them conserved. So do your heart a favor and steer away from the canned vegetables.
Always choose the fresh veggies and if you can’t get your hands on them, then, frozen vegetables would be a much better replacement for the canned ones. Again, don’t fall for the frozen vegetables that contain butter or cheese sauce since they are also high in salt.
#6 – Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is another snack that misleads you, you believe it’s healthy but it is far from being so. Most dried fruits have an awful lot of added sugar. It is the equivalent of eating a handful of candy.
If we measure one cup of fresh apricots, we will have 15 grams of sugar while there are 69 grams of sugar in one cup of dried apricots. You guessed it, to keep your heart happy opt for a fresh fruit when you are in dire need of a snack.
#5 – Vegetable Chips
For chips lovers, vegetable chips are a dream that has come true, the perfect healthy snack, the sad reality is that they are sold as a healthy alternative to potato chips. However, they aren’t any better than the typical potato chips, even worse because some brands of vegetable chips use more sodium than there is in potato chips.
One serving of Garden Veggie Chips has 210 mg of sodium while one serving of Lay’s Wavy potato chips only has 140 mg of sodium. We may even be tempted to consider potato chips to be a healthy snack in this case.
#4 – Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn is heavily loaded with salt and butter. Also, the butter flavoring is thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease because of the included chemicals. Microwave popcorn is neither good for your heart nor for your brain. If you would like to snack on some popcorn, then make it on the stove and avoid adding any salt or butter.
Homemade popcorn is a whole-grain snack that is beneficial for your heart. In addition to its enormous health benefits, it can also prevent blood sugar fluctuations that make you hungry quickly.
#3 – Nutri-Grain Bars
It’s deceiving when you see names like “Fruit & Oat” and pictures of fruits on the front of the box, Nutri-Grain bars have a look of being healthy on the outside. However, they are the ultimate fakeness among health foods. These cereal bars are full of preservatives, soybean oil and sugar.
Also, because they are very tasty, it’s very hard to stick to eating just one. If you end up having several of these per day, you will notice how easy it is to have a diet that is high in calories, salt, and sugar.
#2 – Turkey Jerky
The currently beloved Turkey jerky is marketed as the perfect high-protein snack. It is especially favorable for people who follow a Paleo diet. Turkey jerky does contain high levels of protein, which has been proven to help reduce our chances of developing heart problems.
However, the issue here lies in the fact that this delicious snack often contains high levels of nitrates and preservatives; these two add a lot of sodium. If you want to have turkey jerky, you can opt for a version with lower sodium and no added artificial ingredients.
#1 – Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese and fruit has long been thought of as a nutritious recipe. But what you probably don’t know is that cottage cheese contains a day’s worth of sodium in only one serving.
One cup of cottage cheese has about 1,000 mg of sodium, which is almost 70 percent of your daily intake of sodium. On the other hand, cottage cheese is rich in calcium, protein, and other minerals.
It’s best to opt for a no-salt-added cottage cheese and serve it with a couple of fresh fruits for a heart-friendly alternative. You can also take Greek yogurt instead, it is full of protein and most kinds of Greek yogurt are low in sodium.
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