Coronary arteries become diseased and prone to blockage as a result of a complex interaction between genetic factors, obesity, high cholesterol level, hypertension and another life habit, namely smoking. What seems to have been tossed over for a long period, however, is the link between heart disease and diet. It was at the end of the 19th that this link was first suspected.
However, it was with the famous Seven Countries Study in 1970 that the link between diet, heart disease and heart attacks came to the fore. The said study showed demonstrated that saturated fats, usually present in animal fat and processed food, were directly connected to heart disease. The question of what should we eat and what should we avoid to prevent heart diseases has been an urgent one. Although different cultures have different opinions regarding the issues, almost every culture seems to agree on the following foods as closely linked to coronary heart diseases:
· Red meats: Cardiologists put red meats on top of the to-be-banned food for heart patients. Red meats are rich in cholesterol, saturated fat and L-carnitine. The latter is said to speed the hardening of artery walls. Cholesterol and saturated fat increase the level of cholesterol and weakens your heart.
· Fried foods: The case against fried food continues to build. The truth behind cooked food is that it combines three very dangerous types of fat, namely hydrogenated oils, trans fats and saturated fat. This is the case with French fries, fried chicken, doughnuts and other junk food. Trans fats are particularly dangerous because they increase the LDL (bad cholesterol) level and lowers the HDL ( Good cholesterol) level in your blood. A high level of LDL and a low level of HDL increase the risks of heart attack.
· Processed Meats: Processed meat such as sausages, bacon and burgers increase the chance of heart disease. A study published on Mail Online states that “Men who eat about two sausages on a daily basis are twice likely to suffer or die from heart condition than those that rarely eat processed meat”. The danger with processed red meat come from high levels of sodium, phosphates, nitrates and many other food additives.
· Pizza: Many people will find it difficult to believe, but yes, pizza is as bad your heart as processed food. Pizza contains three ingredients, none of which is heart-healthy. The cheese on top is rich in saturated fat and the sauce (especially the one that comes in cans) is also high in sodium. The good thing about pizza is that it can have a healthy alternative with a whole wheat crust, fresh tomato slices and 100% milk cheese (not processed).
· Pastries: Like fried foods, pastries combine many factors that lead to heart disease. The danger from pastries comes basically from sugar and the trans fat usually found in cake preparations that you can get from the supermarkets. Combined with the hydrogenated oil in some cookies and doughnuts, these two ingredients increase the level of cholesterol in your blood and lead to artery blockage.