2 Foods You Should Never Buy At The Grocery Store, According To A Cardiologist
If your goal is to prioritize your heart health in the upcoming new year, reevaluating your diet and eating habits is essential. We reached out to cardiologists, dietitians and other health experts to learn more about two types of foods and snacks (often found at the grocery store) that are best to skip for a healthier heart (your gut will also thank you!) Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Dr. Nitin Bhatnagar, M.D., cardiologist and holistic heart doctor, and Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, cardiac dietitian at UCLA medical center.
1. Deep-Fat Fried Snacks
For a stronger heart and to promote healthy aging, Hunnes warns against snacking on anything that is "deep-fat fried, especially fried in trans-fats." She says that this could include "potato chips, french fries, fried onion rings, tater tots, fried tortillas, and churros." The reason these are "so bad for your heart," she explains, is because "they are high in simple carbohydrates that increase triglyceride levels, which is dangerous for the heart."
She adds that "deep-fat fried foods, often in trans fats, are known to be inflammatory and increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (healthier) cholesterol levels." In addition, Hunnes notes that these foods are "inflammatory and increase the insulin response," which can wreck havoc on the cardiovascular system since "a lot of cardiovascular disease is influenced by inflammation."
2. 'Loaded' Foods
One key word to look out for when shopping for snacks, Bhatnagar urges, is "loaded," whether you're looking at "loaded" potato skins, chips, frozen meals, etc. Bhantagar says that when thinking about ready-to-heat meals or other snacks, "loaded usually implies bacon and cheese mixed with an item that is already deep fried," adjacent to some food item that is "probably already unhealthy."
Overall, Bhatnagar advises that avoiding foods like these can not only improve your heart health, but also decrease stress caused by inflammation. "When the mind is out of sync, the heart also is subject to stress," he says. "Now, to add that, picking a fried or loaded item is unhealthy to the body, mind and heart." A dollop of loaded onion rings "simply compounds the ill effects to the heart through the excess fat, excess salt, excess fried nature of the food," he concludes. "This can further clog the arteries which can lead to heart attacks and strokes." (Noted!)