Foods to Avoid if You Want to Prevent Clogged Arteries
Health Nutrition
Morgan Medeiros MSc
February 19, 2019

Avoid These Foods to Prevent Clogged ArteriesFrom a nutrition standpoint, heart disease often starts out innocently enough: a few bad choices, followed by a few more. After a number of months or years, those choices create a circulatory system wrought with inflammation and plaque, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Eating to prevent heart disease may seem like a simple proposition, but it’s what that we fail with in shockingly high numbers: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The overwhelming rates of overweight and obesity, which come as a consequence of poor nutrition and exercise habits, play a large role in the development of heart disease.

Eating fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats seems like a relatively simple proposition.

But what about what you shouldn’t be eating?

We’ve compiled a list of the top five offenders to phase out of your regular routine to keep your arteries clear and your heart healthy.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats increase inflammation and “bad” LDL cholesterol. Steer clear of butter, coconut oil, fatty cuts of meat, whole fat dairy, and baked goods in favor of plant-based oils (olive, canola), nuts and seeds, lean meats, fatty fish, and low-fat dairy.

Trans Fats

Trans fat (look for partially or fully hydrogenated oils on product packaging) increase risk for heart disease by increasing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and reducing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Trans fats often hide in restaurant foods, peanut butter, snack foods and cereals, and baked goods.

High Sodium Foods

Sodium increases blood pressure, which can – over time – lead to narrowing of the arteries and even higher blood pressure. Restaurant foods and packaged foods are big offenders: most contain far more salt than what you may identify on your palate. Always skip the salt shaker and make it a goal to eliminate as many packaged foods as possible.

High Sugar Foods

Sugar taxes the cardiovascular system by increasing inflammation and damaging the arterial wall. Over time, this can cause excessive plaque buildup and arterial narrowing.

The average American consumes more than three times the upper limit for added and refined sugars: always skip high-calorie beverages and make a habit of reading product packaging, scanning for sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, or other forms of added or refined sugar.

Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).

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