6. Frozen Dinners

frozen food

Many packaged frozen dinners are simply too high in sugar and sodium to be considered safe for cardiovascular health. Sodium, in particular, is sometimes shockingly high. Allina Health recommends choosing frozen meals with under 600 mg of sodium per package, because when you eat foods low in sodium it’s easier for your heart to do its job of pumping blood. Or break the habit of buying packaged frozen meals. Create your own healthier make-ahead meals that you can store in the freezer for convenience.

5. Cheeseburgers

Cheeseburger

Like pizza, the cheeseburger is bad for the heart on several levels, especially if you eat it on a white bread bun. Plus, more risky ingredients might be hiding in burger toppings, like bacon, mayo, and ketchup if it’s a store-bought brand made with sugar and preservatives. The burger and cheese have saturated fat. The white bread bun adds simple sugar from refined grain. And that’s even before mentioning what else might be in the beef, from additives to antibiotics. If you can’t give up cheeseburgers, choose the healthiest ingredients possible. Grass-fed organic beef is a great place to start.

4. White Rice

White Rice

To eat for heart health, we should probably avoid white rice for the same reason we should avoid white bread. White rice is also made from refined grain. This refined carbohydrate turns quickly to glucose in the blood and is lacking some of the nutrients and fiber it once had when in its original form. If you don’t like brown rice or wild rice as alternatives, there are other whole grains that make for tasty rice replacements. Try quinoa, barley, whole grain couscous or riced cauliflower instead.

Related: 10 Tips to Help You Survive a Heart Attack

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