I'm a cardiologist – here's the 6 foods I would never eat to protect my heart from silent killers | The Sun

CARDIOLOGISTS see first hand how certain foods affect your heart.

And at a time when more that than 66,000 Brits are dying each year from cardiovascular diseases, it's more important than ever to be looking after our hearts.

To make matters worse, recent studies have found some heart diseases in people under age 40 have been increasing over the past decade. 

According to two doctors, the western lifestyle – which often involves eating processed foods – is fuelling heart disease.

Still, it's not always be possible to eliminate problem foods, so moderation and portion control are key.

Speaking to TODAY, Dr Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist based at the Women's Heart Clinic in, Minnesota, US, said: “There isn’t a food that will save your life.

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"And there isn’t one that’s going to kill you, it is about balance.

“So the occasional cheesecake isn’t going to kill you, but it really is what you eat and how much you eat that’s so critical.”

Dr Sharonne and fellow cardiologist Dr Andrew Freeman, who works at National Jewish Health in Colorado, US, share some of the top foods they try to avoid or limit for optimal health

1. Sausages

Processed meats like sausages and bacon are high in calories, saturated fat, salt and have added ingredients like nitrates – all of which are bad for your heart, the experts explain.

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And it’s not only heart health that may suffer from overindulging on hotdogs Dr Andrew told TODAY.

The World Health Organization has determined eating processed meats causes cancer, he explained.

2. Crisps

Stay clear of small bags of salty, crunchy processed carbs that you might find in vending machines, the doctors advised.

“Our culture values convenience, which is great, but convenience doesn’t mean you have to eat packaged processed foods with added sugars and salt,” Dr Andrew said.

According to the NHS, high salt consumption can raise blood pressure – and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

“Nature has provided for us the exact foods we should be eating; we just need to eat them," the doctor explained.

Instead, opt for healthy portable foods, likeapples, carrots and other fruits and vegetables, he explained.

3. Pudding

It's fine too enjoy sugar, but keep your consumption of sweet treats to a minimum.

Eating too much sugar can contribute to people having too many calories, which can lead to weight gain. 

Being overweight increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes, explains the NHS.

Dr Sharonne said she indulges once a week at most and keeps her portion small to limit calories. 

4. Too much protein

As a nation, we've become pretty obsessed with protein – especially those of us who enjoy the gym.

It’s not uncommon to see people getting two times as much protein as they may need in a day and that taxes the kidneys and may cause more problems down the road," he added.

A recent study found men who consumed a high-protein diet increased their risk of developing heart failure by 33 percent.

Another issues is that protein from meat often comes high in saturated fats, which may raise cholesterol levels,  the American Heart Association warns.

So don’t overdo it and opt for plant protein, both doctors advised.

Most adults need around 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day (for the average woman, this is 45g, or 55g for men).

That's about two portions of meat, fish, nuts or tofu per day.

5. Energy drinks

Dr Andrew said he avoids energy drinks at all costs.

Studies have found the combination of sugar and caffeine found in the drinks can induce problems like high blood pressure or arrhythmia.

That doesn’t mean you should skip caffeine, the expert said.

It’s quite healthful to drink tea or coffee in moderation every day.

Other research suggests two cups of coffee per day can slash your risk of type 2 diabetes.

6. Coconut oil

Many people wrongly think coconut oil is a healthy fat alternative, when actually it contains more saturated fat than lard.

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It is also used in studies in mice and rats to mimic cholesterol blockages in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

Dr Andrew suggests people use it as a moisturiser but keep it out of the kitchen.

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