Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, regardless of race or ethnicity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although you can’t avoid risk factors such as family history, you can adopt a healthier lifestyle to improve your heart health.
Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, a Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins trained cardiologist and founder of Step One Foods, recently shared with CNBC the five foods she avoids to protect her ticker.
“Of course, you don’t need be a nutritionist to know that you won’t benefit from a consistent diet of cheeseburgers, donuts and French fries,” Klodas wrote. “But there are a number of popular choices that are not as healthy for your heart as you might think.”
Although skim milk is lower in saturated fat than whole milk, Klodas recommended you “switch it up and try alternatives.” Instead of dairy, try almond, cashew or macadamia nut “milks,” which have more unsaturated fats. Other choices are soy, hemp and flax “milks.”
If you’re worried about not getting enough calcium, add broccoli, kale, oranges, beans, edamame, figs and other calcium-rich foods to your diet.
Less sugar doesn’t necessarily equal healthy.
Artificial sweeteners “should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar,” French researchers wrote in an observational study, even considering the “extensive use of these substances in products on the global market.”