Heart-Healthy Foods: Have You Been Duped?

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Not every food item advertised as "healthy" on television is actually good for you. Unfortunately not every consumer takes this into consideration when handing over their money in exchange for sugary so-called natural snacks.

If you are guilty of this sort of "so long as they tell me its healthy, I'll buy it" thinking, it's time for a serious change. You could be doing more harm than good to the body you're trying to improve.

When you're looking for heart-healthy foods, its best to pay close attention to the ingredients; some foods are shockingly bad for you.

This includes foods that are marked as "low in fat". In fact, think of "low fat" as irony that you should run as far away from as possible.

"They're laden with preservatives and shelf stabilizers," says Miranda Hammer, a clinical dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. "You're not doing your body any service by buying low-fat products."

Not only that, but in a diabolical twist these types of foods are chalk full of excess sugar and salt, meant to make up for the lost fat content. And we all know nothing good ever comes of excess sugar and salt.

Want a more sensible alternative that's actually good for your heart? Think olive oil. It's one substance that's hardcore proof that sometimes fat can be very good for you. Including plenty of olive oil promises to not only help improve your heart health, some research suggests it improves brain function as well.

Other things to stay away from? Energy bars and drinks.

"These drinks are loaded with sugar and artificial dyes you shouldn't put into your body," says Hammer.

In other words, if you were hoping to replace soda and candy bars with energy bars and drinks to be healthier, consider it a waste of time and money.

In the future, opt for things like oatmeal, dark chocolate, bananas, and even a bit of red wine.

All of these things in one way or another has proven heart health benefits.

Here's one last bit of advice: If the "heart-healthy" and "natural" product you're thinking of buying is in a box far away from the produce aisle, it's best to pass on it.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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