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10 everyday kitchen essentials that could be detrimental to your heart health

Common kitchen items can affect heart health. Ingredients with trans fats, like partially hydrogenated oils in processed foods, can raise bad cholesterol. Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu. Limit red and processed meats, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Edited By: Health Desk New Delhi Published on: October 21, 2023 12:30 IST
Mental health
Image Source : FREEPIK kitchen containers

Many items we commonly use in our kitchens can have an impact on our heart health. Some cooking ingredients and food choices, if consumed excessively or in certain ways, could contribute to heart-related issues. Reportedly, a UK based study titled "Ultra-processed foods and excessive free sugar intake in the UK: a nationally representative cross-sectional study" uncovered alarming findings. It revealed that a significant part of the UK diet consists of ultra-processed foods, contributing to 56.8% of total energy intake and a staggering 64.7% of total free sugars in the diet. The study also highlighted that free sugars, accounting for 12.4% of total energy intake, exceeded recommended limits for a substantial portion of the population. Around 61.3% of individuals went beyond the recommended threshold of 10% of energy intake from free sugars.

Here are some key pointers regarding common kitchen items that could impact your heart health:

  • Trans Fats Awareness: Be cautious of foods containing partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats. These can elevate bad cholesterol levels and increase heart disease risk. Check labels for trans fats and choose alternatives with healthier fats like olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Mindful Salt Intake: Limit the use of high-sodium condiments and processed foods. High salt consumption can lead to hypertension, a risk factor for heart issues. Opt for herbs and spices to season your dishes and read labels for sodium content.
  • Sugar Moderation: Reduce consumption of foods high in added sugars, such as sugary beverages, candies, and desserts. Excess sugar can contribute to weight gain and diabetes, both of which impact heart health.
  • Healthy Cooking Methods: Avoid deep-frying and opt for healthier cooking methods like baking, grilling, steaming, and sautéing. This helps retain nutrients without adding excessive unhealthy fats.
  • Lean Protein Choices: Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu. Limit red and processed meats, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Whole Foods Emphasis: Prioritize whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. These are rich in nutrients and fiber, supporting heart health.
  • Portion Control: Watch portion sizes to prevent overeating, which can lead to weight gain and strain on the heart. Use smaller plates to help control portion sizes.
  • Label Reading: Read nutrition labels to identify hidden fats, sugars, and excessive sodium in packaged foods. Make informed choices based on nutritional content.
  • Hydration: Choose water or unsweetened beverages over sugary drinks to maintain proper hydration and avoid unnecessary sugar intake.
  • Balanced Diet: Aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. This approach helps provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support heart health.
  • Meal Planning: Plan meals ahead of time to ensure you're incorporating heart-healthy ingredients and cooking methods into your diet.

By paying attention to these pointers and making mindful choices in your kitchen, you can positively impact your heart health and overall well-being.

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