Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a top cardiologist at Mount Sinai, told DailyMail.com that overeating in general is bad for your cardiovascular system
A top heart doctor has revealed the seven foods he never eats to keep his ticker healthy.
While obvious choices like fast food, alcohol, and red meat make up Dr. Deepak Bhatt’s no-go list, there are several culprits that might surprise you.
Dr. Bhatt, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai in New York, said that “the best advice for a healthy heart diet is one that is relatively low in calories.”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and in the US, accounting for nearly 700,000 American deaths each year.
Despite being hailed as an ultimate health food in the late 2010s, evidence is beginning to pile up that coconut oil isn’t all that good for your heart, according to Dr. Bhatt.
Coconut oil contains more saturated fat than lard, which can cause a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries.
It is also used in mouse and rat studies to mimic cholesterol blockages in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
When it comes to coconut oil, Dr Bhatt said “some caution is probably needed.”
“And I wouldn’t cook in coconut oil too much,” he added.
Coconut oil is “quite high in fat,” he said. “Coconut may have health benefits, but it’s like anything — at some point, too much of something is likely to backfire in terms of where it flips from health benefits to just a lot of calories going into it.”
The health-conscious often strive for a high-protein diet, especially those who work out at the gym.
But dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, and a member of the Leadership Council of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council, pointed out TODAY: “We seem to be obsessed with protein in this country.
“It’s not uncommon to see people getting twice as much protein as they need in a day and that puts a strain on the kidneys and can cause more problems later on.”
The recommended amount of protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, which means a 165-pound person should eat 60 grams of protein per day.
Dr. Bhatt said that ‘for most healthy people with normal kidneys, if they read a normal or even higher than normal protein, it generally won’t cause kidney problems. That is really more specific for people who already have kidney damage.’
To boost protein intake, people may eat meats high in saturated fats, which in turn can boost low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol.
This can build up on the walls of your arteries and cause problems such as heart disease and stroke.
Overindulging in protein can also mean neglecting other food groups.
Energy drinks can raise blood pressure or cause arrhythmia — where the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm
Much has been said about the effect of energy drinks on mental health and sleep, but Dr. Bhatt said the effect on the heart could be just as bad.
Energy drinks are best avoided due to their high sugar content and the ingredients they contain that can increase blood pressure or cause arrhythmia – a condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm.
Dr. Bhatt warned, “You have to be careful with energy drinks and herbs and supplements and things like that because they can contain all kinds of substances that can cause arrhythmias or heart rhythm problems or other health problems.
“It’s best to stick to things that are really healthy, real foods and not fake foods.”
He added: ‘Other than [energy drinks] with a lot of calories, they sometimes have quite large amounts of caffeine or other substances that can cause abnormal heart rhythms.”
An irregular heartbeat, where your heart may feel like it is fluttering or racing, may be an indication that your heart is not working as it should. It can be a sign of heart disease, including coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy (problems with the heart muscle).
Even diet sodas aren’t the healthiest for the heart, as they usually cause a calorie craving.
Dr. Bhatt said, “Of course, diet sodas have fewer calories than regular sodas, but they tend to be super sweet, and “there’s at least some research that suggests it tricks the brain into thinking, ‘I need some calories right now.’ , because I get all the sweets, but I don’t get any calories.
‘That’s no use. Now I need to get calories into the system.” So there’s a line of research that says even the diet soda might not be that good.”
If you want to stay hydrated during exercise, Dr Bhatt said that “there’s nothing like good water.”
He said: ‘If you want something that has a bit more flavour, sometimes a little bit of fruit extract in water can make it a bit tastier, or sometimes it can just make it more exciting by carbonating it. plain old water. Those kinds of things contain relatively few calories, but are also reasonably safe.’
Red meat is the worst food you can eat for your heart, Dr. Bhatt told DailyMail.com
Dr. Bhatt told DailyMail.com, “The worst [for cardiovascular health] is red meat.’
“There is no doubt that red meat increases the risk of heart disease and also of cancer.”
He said it is second only to tobacco in increasing risk.
Processed meats such as sausage, bacon and salami all contain hefty amounts of calories, saturated fat and salt.
More than half of the calories in bacon come from saturated fat, which raises your bad cholesterol. This can put you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The high salt content can also raise your blood pressure and make your heart work harder.
Nitrates are added to meat as preservatives, but they are not broken down properly by stomach acid.
A 2020 study suggested that eating just four slices of bacon was enough to increase the risk of heart disease.
Dr. Bhat explained, “Part of it has to do with really advanced things like our microbiome – that universe that lives in our digestive system. [of] billions of different organisms and bacteria. They live there, they are supposed to live there, they evolved with us in many cases, but things we do that disrupt that balance ruin our cardiovascular health.”
“Red meat seems to be particularly bad in terms of reactions it causes in the gut or in the digestive system. Meats in particular, that further cause chemical reactions that create substances that are bad for cardiovascular health, especially when they interact with the other organisms, the bacteria that live in our digestive tract.’
However, red meat is filled with iron, zinc and other nutrients. Many previous studies have shown that completely cutting out red meat can be harmful, as it can cause a nutrient deficiency.
Dr. Bhatt said alcohol is best avoided in pursuit of a healthy heart.
He said: ‘It is a myth that it is good for heart health. Alcohol is essentially empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value.
“People shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking they’re doing something good for their health.”
He added: ‘The evidence shows that alcohol consumption, even up to one drink a day, increases the risk of heart rhythm problems or arrhythmias known as atrial fibrillation.
“The scientific evidence shows cardiovascular risks of alcohol consumption, not benefits. Sure, if someone drinks a lot of glasses of wine or shots of whiskey or cans of beer, that can increase the risk of things like high blood pressure, and in large amounts things like heart failure.
Alcohol increases blood levels of the hormone renin, which causes blood vessels to constrict, which raises blood pressure.
Dr. Bhatt said junk food is bad for the heart, to the extent that it can cause the patient’s medications to stop working.
He said, “Most fast foods are made to be tasty, and that means a lot of salt, a lot of sugar. That excess salt can contribute to high blood pressure.
‘Sometimes even when the doctor prescribes medication and the medication doesn’t seem to work. it’s not because the drugs don’t work, it’s because there’s so much salt in a person’s system that the drugs can’t really do what they otherwise would.
“Fried foods are also unhealthy and often contain a lot of calories.”
He added, “The more you can avoid all that, the better.”
Added sugar is another thing to stay away from, said Dr Bhatt.
He said: ‘Especially simple sugars, white sugar and things like that, which are common in things like cakes and biscuits, but even many breads just have a lot of sugar, salt and white flour.
“Those kinds of simple carbohydrates, like from white flour, are generally the kind of food that increases the risk of diabetes and obesity, which are risk factors for heart disease.”
Excessive sugar intake can cause increased fat storage in the body, especially in the liver and around internal organs. Over time, the body can begin to resist the action of insulin, and the pancreas must produce more insulin to keep blood glucose levels within a normal range.
Prolonged elevated blood sugar can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.