As tempting because it is, junk food is one in all the largest enemies of heart health. And as a cardiologist, there’s one sort of junk food particularly that you’re going to never see me eating: chips.
From nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips to crunchy corn puffs to potato crisps, these are among the hottest snacks within the U.S. But they’re high in additives and low in fiber and other helpful nutrients.
Over the course of a 12 months, eating only one snack-sized bag of chips (about an oz.) every single day could pour a couple of 3/4 cup of salt into your body, while adding as much as 15 kilos. An excessive amount of sodium can elevate your blood pressure, and significant weight gain can adversely affect your cholesterol and blood sugar.
But you haven’t got to attend a 12 months to see an effect. Studies show that eating poor quality foods negatively affects blood vessel function inside hours of consumption.
Luckily, there are great alternatives. When I need to avoid junk food, here’s what I eat as an alternative for a healthy heart:
About half a cup of hummus is the calorie equivalent of a small bag of Cheetos or Doritos.
Add in some veggies for dipping (essentially zero calories), and you will have a considerable snack that is high in fiber, healthy fats and protein.
An oz of virtually any nut variety has about 165 calories. Avoid the salted flavors, and also you get all of the dietary advantages without the sodium load.
Should you’re not used to eating raw nuts, try mixing equal parts raw and equal parts salted. You are unlikely to discern a giant difference in taste, but you’ll have cut your sodium intake in half.
Two small bananas or three oranges is the calorie equivalent of a little bit bag of chips. You may get loads of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, too.
We frequently reach for chips not because we’re hungry, but because we’re bored, need a pick-me-up, or are simply craving them. But they should not good reasons for consuming something that is actively sabotaging your efforts to enhance heart health.
As an alternative, search for options which have whole food fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and plant sterols that help lower cholesterol.
I often take into consideration this quote from food writer Michael Pollan: “Should you’re hungry, eat an apple. Should you don’t desire the apple, you are not hungry.”
Dr. Elizabeth Klodas is a preventative cardiologist and founding father of Step One Foods. Trained at Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Klodas has published dozens of scientific articles throughout her profession, and recently authored a free guide to cholesterol management and statins called “Which Cholesterol Lowering Option is Right for Me?“
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