Much has changed over the past several decades in the realm of what we know about heart disease and its causes. But one thing has remained the same: its inevitable tie to the American, or “Western,” diet. Experts used to think that eating a diet high in fat was the key factor that contributed to heart disease. However, now they know that certain fats, specifically omega-3s and -6s, are not harmful in increasing a person’s risk of heart disease. High sodium intake, high sugary-drink consumption, and low intake of fruits and vegetables are mainly responsible for the approximate 45 percent of U.S. deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to Suzanne Steinbaum, M.D., cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital and volunteer medical expert for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement.
While your family history and genetics can certainly play a role in your risk for heart disease, the most effective way to protect your heart is to learn how to read food labels so you can be informed on what to avoid. Here are some of the worst foods to consume if you’re hoping to ward off heart disease and live a long, healthy life.
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