The secret of avoiding heart disease could come down to which foods are on — or off — your plate.
While you can’t control factors such as age or family history, the choice to adopt a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your risk.
“The goal is not to go on a temporary diet for rapid weight loss, but to make good lifestyle choices to promote well-being permanently,” said Dr. Bradley Serwer, a cardiologist and chief medical officer at VitalSolution, a Cincinnati-based company that offers cardiovascular and anesthesiology services to hospitals nationwide.
MEDITERRANEAN DIET COULD HELP REDUCE BELLY FAT AND MUSCLE LOSS CAUSED BY AGING, STUDY FINDS
Serwer and other cardiologists shared with Fox News Digital their nutrition advice for reducing the risk of coronary disease and heart attacks.
Here are some of their tips.
The worst foods for the heart
“Foods that contain high levels of trans fats, which are found in many fried foods, are some of the worst offenders,” Serwer said.
Trans saturated fats are artificially created, he noted. They raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, while at the same time lowering high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol.
ASK A DOC: ‘HOW CAN I PREVENT HIGH CHOLESTEROL?’
“High levels of bad cholesterol promote coronary atherosclerosis, also known as clogged arteries,” Serwer warned.
Bread, pasta and potatoes
Dr. Alexander Postalian, a cardiologist at the Texas Heart Institute, warned that simple carbohydrates — including bread and potatoes — are the primary enemy.
“They get absorbed quickly, raise blood sugar and can get converted into ‘bad’ cholesterol,” he said.
Other examples of simple carbohydrates include sugary drinks, sweets, rice and tortillas.
Foods rich in saturated fats, which include red meat, also raise LDL levels, increasing the risk of heart disease, said Serwer.
BE WELL: ADD AN EGG (OR 3) TO YOUR DAILY DIET FOR HEART HEALTH
Dr. Leonard Ganz, chief medical officer and divisional vice president of medical affairs at Abbott’s cardiac rhythm management business in Sylmar, California, told Fox News Digital that when bacteria in the gut break down meat, one of the metabolites produced is TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) — which may increase the risk of heart and kidney disease, as well as type 2 diabetes.
“In particular, processed meats such as bacon and sausage have nitrates that may increase inflammation and sodium, ultimately raising blood pressure that may be associated with inflammation,” he added.
Dairy also falls into the category of high saturated fats, Serwer said, making it a food to limit or avoid for optimal heart health.
While butter, cream and ice cream are not heart-healthy, the American