Did you know that there are certain foods that can increase your chances of getting a heart attack? After a heart attack, it is advised to avoid certain kinds of foods to reduce the chances of any recurrence.
According to the World Health Organization, heart attacks account for 85% of all deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases. Although heart attack death rates are high, there are several strategies to reduce the chances of complications and failure, one of which is diet modification. In this article, we will look at some foods to avoid following a heart attack.
About heart attack
A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly cut off, causing heart muscle tissue to be damaged.
Heart attacks can be caused by a variety of factors:
Symptoms of heart attack include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Severe discomfort around the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes
- Irregular pulse
If you are experiencing any of the above warning signs, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
There are several groups of people who are at a higher risk of having a heart attack.
Some of the risk factors are enlisted below:
- The elderly
- Family history of heart disease
- Being overweight or obese
- High stress levels
- Excessive alcohol consumption
You can prevent a heart attack by being aware of your risk factors and the warning signs associated with it as well as making a few lifestyle changes.
Treatment for a heart attack may involve medications, lifestyle changes, or surgery. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions and take steps to reduce your future risk for it.
Foods to avoid after a heart attack
Your diet is vital to maintaining your general health. The following are some foods and ingredients which should completely be avoided by people with heart issues or if you have just recovered from a heart attack.
Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attack. Research has found that even small reductions in salt intake can lead to a significant decrease in the risk of a heart attack.1,2
Reducing salt intake can be done by limiting processed and packaged foods, as well as avoiding adding additional salt to meals. Additionally, foods that are naturally high in sodium, such as canned vegetables and soups, should be avoided or consumed in moderation. Making small changes to reduce salt intake can have a big impact on reducing the risk of a heart attack.
Processed meat and red meat
Studies have shown that consuming red and processed meats can lead to higher levels of cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease.3,4 Consuming an excessive amount of red and processed meat can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attack. Furthermore, the saturated fat found in red and processed meats can increase the risk of a heart attack. To reduce the risk of a heart attack, try to limit your consumption of red and processed meats or substitute them with eggs or dairy products.
High fat diet
A high-fat diet is rich in saturated and trans fat. These fats are classified as unhealthy because of the negative impact they have on your health. Consuming foods high in unhealthy fats can raise the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, leading to the formation of fat deposits known as plaque in the arteries. This can cause the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart and increasing the risk of a heart attack. Cheese, sausage, and red meat are examples of foods high in saturated fat. A healthy, low-fat, high-fibre diet can help reduce the risk of having a heart attack.
Consuming beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and beverages with added sugars, according to a recent study published by the American Heart Association, increases your risk of heart disease, which could eventually lead to a heart attack.5 These beverages are harmful because they increase the risk of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for having a heart attack. Try to avoid drinking these beverages or replace them with smoothies.
Drinking too much alcohol can damage your heart muscles, leading to a heart attack. It is important to note that there is no completely safe level of alcohol consumption; therefore, it is best if you avoid drinking alcohol entirely.
Best foods to eat after a heart attack
It is well known that diet plays a key role in preventing and managing many chronic diseases. According to this study, there are certain foods which might help prevent and control these chronic diseases. Here is a list of foods to enjoy after a heart attack:
- Foods that are high in fibre, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of further heart problems
- Lean proteins, such as fish, poultry, and beans, can also help to reduce cholesterol levels and provide essential nutrients
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve overall heart health
- Low-fat dairy products such as unsweetened milk and yoghurt
- Water ensure to stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day
A heart attack is a serious medical illness that results in damage to the heart muscle tissue. After a heart attack, it is important to make sure that you are eating the right foods and avoiding unhealthy ones to help your body heal and prevent further damage. Eating a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium is essential for recovery. Substituting whole grains, eggs, and high-quality plant foods for red meat and processed meat can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, a leading cause of heart attack.
- He FJ, Tan M, Ma Y, MacGregor GA. Salt Reduction To Prevent Hypertension And Cardiovascular Disease: jacc state-of-the-art review. Journal of the American College of Cardiology [Internet]. 2020 Feb 18 [cited 2022 Dec 9];75(6):632–47. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109719386929
- Grillo A, Salvi L, Coruzzi P, Salvi P, Parati G. Sodium Intake and Hypertension. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Aug 21 [cited 2022 Dec 9];11(9):1970. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770596/
- Al-Shaar L, Satija A, Wang DD, Rimm EB, Smith-Warner SA, Stampfer MJ, et al. Red Meat Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Among US Men: Prospective Cohort Study. BMJ [Internet]. 2020 Dec 2 [cited 2022 Dec 9];371:m4141. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4141
- Micha R, Michas G, Mozaffarian D. Unprocessed Red and Processed Meats and Risk of Coronary Artery Disease and Type 2 Diabetes – An Updated Review of The Evidence. Curr Atheroscler Rep [Internet]. 2012 Dec [cited 2022 Dec 9];14(6):515–24. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3483430/
- Pacheco LS, Lacey JV, Martinez ME, Lemus H, Araneta MRG, Sears DD, et al. Sugar‐Sweetened Beverage Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Risk In The California Teachers Study. Journal of the American Heart Association [Internet]. 2020 May 18 [cited 2022 Dec 9];9(10):e014883. Available from: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.119.014883