7 heart healthy swaps for processed foods

The average American diet is full of processed foods that rely on unhealthy fats, added salt and sugar in all its different forms to appeal to your taste buds, according to research presented at an American Heart Association (AHA) conference held last year. It’s a menu guaranteed to increase the chances of developing heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Researchers found that the study’s participants whose calories increased by 5 percent experienced a corresponding decline in their cardiovascular health. Participants who reported about 70 percent of their diet consisted of processed foods were half as likely to have “ideal” cardiovascular health.

When you displace healthy food choices with options loaded with ultra-processed fats, sugars, artificial colors and preservatives, you deprive your body of many of the nutrients it needs.

The study highlights the importance of a healthy, whole-food eating plan. Results showed that when you displace healthy food choices with options loaded with ultra-processed fats, sugars, artificial colors and preservatives, you deprive your body of many of the nutrients it needs. If that sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to make some dietary changes.

While doing a complete and total overhaul of your eating habits may sound a little overwhelming, taking just a few small steps can make a big difference for your heart health and overall wellbeing.

Here are seven simple food swaps to reduce the processed food in your diet and improve your heart health at the same time.

In addition, when you think about swapping out sugary drinks or drinks made with artificial sugars like diet sodas, opt for water, herbal tea or unsweetened juice. Learn more in this podcast about the effects of drinking diet soda on your health. 

 

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Find a doctor

If you want to make lasting changes to your daily menu, the heart and vascular specialists at Providence can help you develop a healthy eating plan that improves your heart health and promotes your overall wellbeing. You can find a Providence cardiologist using our provider directory. Or, you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.

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Regional resources

Alaska: Heart and Vascular Center

California: Heart and Vascular Center

Montana: Heart and Vascular Center

Texas: Covenant Health Heart and Vascular Center

Washington: Heart and Vascular Center | Cardiology Providers

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

 

About the Author

The Providence Heart & Vascular Team is committed to bringing you many years of expertise and experience to help you understand how to prevent, treat and recover from cardiovascular diseases and conditions. From tips to eating better to exercise and everything in between, our clinical experts know how to help you help your heart.

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