Reduce heart attack risk by avoiding 15 seemingly healthy foods chicken to ketchup

Eating for a healthier heart means being aware of the hidden dangers lurking in some of your favourite foods.

Many of the foods deemed healthy are, in fact, the complete opposite.

With a staggering 7.6 million people living with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK – four million of which are men and 3.6 million women – it’s clear to see why it’s so important.

Foods need to contain nutrients such as omega-3s, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fibre, but many significantly lack these.

So what should you avoid?

Best food for heart health

When eating foods healthy for the heart, nutrients within them help to improve the cardiovascular system, reducing both cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease.

Equally, eating foods which impact heart health negatively will increase your cholesterol levels, which in turn will cause you to be at a greater risk for a heart attack among many other potentially life-threatening health conditions.

According to a 2016 study by the American College of Cardiology, a diet rich in whole grains, nuts, beans and some dairy and healthy fats reduces a person’s risk for cardiovascular diseases by a third.

Many foods, however, do not fit into these categories.

What to avoid for a healthy heart

15 foods to avoid for a healthier heart include:

Processed deli meats
Rotisserie chicken
Barbecue sauce
Reduced-fat salad dressing
Sugary cereal
Flavoured-milk alternatives
Fruits smoothies
Canned soup
Canned vegetables
Fruit-flavoured yogurt
Coffee creamer
Healthy food swaps
Health experts advise limiting your salt and saturated fat intake.

Alongside this, sugary drinks and processed foods should be kept to a minimum.

Not all fats are unhealthy, however, and with more complex, healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil and fatty fish in your diet, you can keep heart disease at bay.

Eating more vegetable-dense recipes will also help.

For protein, reduce the amount of red meat and dairy, instead opting for leaner meats such as chicken and turkey.

For dairy product lovers, low-fat options are your best bet with an added protein boost found in heart-healthy nuts such as almonds and Brazil nuts.

Experts further advise choosing unsweetened beverages.

Ensuring you may the appropriate lifestyle changes is the most effective way to lower your heart disease and heart attack risk.

The NHS further advises taking three main steps “to help prevent a heart attack as well as a stroke”, which are:

Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Do not smoke
Try to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.