MADISON COUNTY — SUBHEAD: The worst heart-healthy foods
• Trans Fat – Like saturated fats, trans fats raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol and also lowers your “good” HDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fats to less than one percent of your total calories.
Avoid foods with “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil” in their ingredients. The usual suspects include packaged snacks, bakery goods and some margarines.
Trans fats are also found naturally in animal products such as beef, pork, lamb, butter and milk.
• Saturated Fat – Anything coming from an animal will contain saturated fat. Beef, pork, lamb, milk, butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, all raise LDL cholesterol and increase the plaque buildup in the arteries.
You can replace many of these foods with monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and swap fish, poultry and beans for protein sources.
• Salt – Americans eat too much sodium, almost 3,500 mg. a day. That’s a third more than the recommended upper limit of 2,300 mg (about one teaspoon).
Too much sodium raises blood pressure as well as the risk of diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Look for “low sodium” foods and other ways to spice up foods.
• Added Sugar – Americans also eat far too much sugar, on the average 22 teaspoons or 355 more calories than recommended. High sugar intake is associated with increased risks for high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels, two risk factors for heart disease.