7 Foods that are bad for your heart



The heart is a vital organ. It works tirelessly, never pausing for a second. It is the first organ we visualise when we think of life.

No matter what materialistic things we are surrounded with, we rely on the heart for life. It performs the most important function of pumping blood to various body parts.

According to an estimate from the Global Burden of Disease study (2010), cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 24.8 % of all deaths in India which is almost a quarter.

A study conducted in 2016 revealed that the annual number of CVD deaths in India was expected to rise from 2.26 million in 1990 to 4.77 million in 2020. Indians are said to have the highest rates of coronary artery disease (CAD).

It is crucial to maintain heart health. One can work on keeping the heart-healthy every day by following a healthy food pattern for several weeks or months.

Factors that can have a significant impact on the heart are how much you move, what food you eat, whether you smoke and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Foods that are bad for your heart

Heart diseases arise when a person’s food intake and lifestyle are irregular and bad. The food we take has a great impact on our health and can also affect heart health. Foods high in fat, salt and sugar and those that are processed are bad for the heart.

The worst foods for your heart

The worst foods for your heart


Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. High sodium diets can raise blood pressure and result in hypertension. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart diseases. Monitoring the salt level in the foods consumed is necessary to avoid complications.

According to recent data, the salt consumption in India is around 11 g per day which is higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended intake of 5 g per day.


Sugar has the ability to cause inflammation throughout the body. A diet high in sugar can lead to chronic inflammation. This can strain the blood vessels and heart, which increases the probability of heart diseases.

Sugar consumption raises insulin levels, which in turn activates the sympathetic nervous system. This results in a rise in the heart rate and blood pressure.

Sugar is considered to be worst for the heart than saturated fat, according to research conducted for decades.

According to a study in progress in cardiovascular diseases, a high-sugar diet is found to triple the risk of fatal CVD.

Foods with high sugar content include

  • Pastries
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Soft drinks, energy drinks
  • Cookies

Saturated fat

The American Heart Association suggests consuming a diet comprising only 5 – 6 % of calories from saturated fat.

Regular intake of saturated fat can raise (Low-Density Lipoprotein) LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. A high LDL cholesterol level is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

Trans fat

Trans fat intake increases LDL cholesterol and also reduces HDL cholesterol. High LDL levels in combination with low HDL levels can lead to cholesterol buildup in the arteries. This increases the chances of acquiring heart diseases and stroke.

Foods that contain saturated fat and trans fat are,

Processed meats

Processed and cured meats contain high saturated fat. Even when they are low in fat, the sodium content is high in these products.

According to the American Heart Association, six thin slices of processed meat can contain half of the daily recommended level of sodium.

The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that eating more processed meat, unprocessed red meat or poultry was linked to an increase in the risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and death from heart and circulatory disease.

Fried foods

Fried food consumption on a regular basis has been related to an increased risk of developing heart disease. This is due to the fact that fried foods have high saturated and trans fat content, which promotes the build-up of plaque in the arteries and thereby increases the possibility of heart failure, heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.

Eating fried foods increases the risk of heart failure by 37 % and coronary heart disease by 22 %.

Researchers discovered that every additional serving of fried food consumed weekly raises the risk of heart failure by 12%, major cardiovascular events by 3% and coronary heart disease by 2%.


Excessive alcohol consumption can result in hypertension, heart failure and stroke. Too much drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disorder.

Furthermore, alcohol can contribute to obesity and the slew of health issues that come with it.

High alcohol intake is generally linked with an increased risk of heart failure, atrial fibrillation and hemorrhagic stroke. Moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke and coronary heart disease.

6 Foods you should eat to prevent heart disease

The best diet for preventing heart disease is one rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, poultry, fish and vegetable oils. 

A balanced diet along with moderate alcohol intake, limited consumption of red and processed meats and restricted intake of refined foods and beverages with added sugar and sodium is necessary to prevent heart disease.


Walnuts are rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid, a prominent omega-3 fatty acid. Consuming walnuts improves cardiovascular health.

Researchers suggest that nuts in general, and walnuts in particular, lower the rates of heart disease and stroke.

Olive oil 

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids.

According to an article titled ‘Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study’, higher olive oil consumption was associated with a lower risk of CHD and total CVD. The use of olive oil as an alternative to margarine, mayonnaise, butter and dairy fat may reduce the risk of CVD and CHD.

According to research, consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 15% and coronary heart disease by 21%.

Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits possess numerous components that aid in heart health. Their soluble fibre and flavonoid may help raise HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

These fruits, especially oranges, may help to lower blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Citrus fruit consumption on a regular basis may reduce the incidence of CVD in both men and women, particularly cerebral infarction.

According to researchers, hesperidin, a flavonoid and an antioxidant found in orange juice, improves blood vessel function and lowers a person’s risk of heart disease.


Salmons are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can effectively reduce blood pressure and prevent clotting.

Consuming two servings of salmon per week lowers the risk of death from a heart attack by one-third.


Tuna, like salmons, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This aids in lowering the levels of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol that can accumulate in the arteries.

Researches suggest that eating more omega-3 fatty acids lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks.


Prunes have a beneficial role in heart health. They reduce oxidative stress damage and protect the arteries.

According to a study published in Pharmaceutical Biology, prunes may help regulate intestinal microflora, effectively lowering total cholesterol levels.

When to see a doctor?

Doctor consultation becomes necessary when a person experiences the following,

  • Heartache: Seek medical attention when persisting heart pain occurs.
  • High total cholesterol levels: Cholesterol level ≥ 200 mg/dL increases the risk of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure: Excessive blood pressure for a prolonged time may transform into a major heart disease. It’s important to keep track of one’s blood pressure.
  • Diabetic: Diabetes can contribute to heart disease. When a person has Diabetes and experiences symptoms of heart disease, consulting a cardiologist becomes mandatory.


Heart diseases are ruling the world and are a common cause of death in many major countries. It is necessary to avoid foods that cause heart problems and take heart-healthy foods.

The food we eat has a significant impact on our heart health. So, it is crucial to know the foods that harm the heart and be precautious. Foods high in fat, salt, sugar and processed ingredients are bad for the heart.


1.What foods do cardiologists say to avoid?

Foods labelled as trans fat, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated are suggested by cardiologists to avoid.
Foods with trans fat, saturated fat, high salt and sugar are included in this category. Processed foods and refined carbohydrates are also foods bad for the heart.

2. What foods can damage your heart?

Regular and prolonged intake of excessive salt, sugar, fat, alcohol and processed foods can damage the heart.

3.How can I make my heart stronger?

Heart health can be improved by being more physically active and consuming a balanced diet with heart-healthy foods. This strengthens the heart muscle by controlling the weight and preventing artery damage caused by high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

4.What should heart patients not eat?

Heart patients should refrain from eating fried foods, pastries, butter, processed foods, junk foods, margarine, gravies, chips, seasoned foods and all foods with high fat, salt and sugar.

5.Which fruit is best for the heart?

Berry varieties including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are loaded with vital nutrients that are essential for heart health.

6.Which drink is best for the heart?

Water may be the best drink to consume for overall heart health.

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