TKO Graphics wellness committee promotes a monthly healthy living initiative. For May it’s healthy food options.  I focused on heart healthy so, I googled heart healthy foods and found a plethora of helpful blogs, white papers, videos, recipes, and infographics. Then my mind began to wander (as it often does) instead of heart healthy choices what are the heart unhealthy choices? I jumped down that rabbit whole (I share a few of the links at the end of this post) and gained a new insight into heart health.

Heart Unhealthy Foods

Most folks know that fruits and veggies are heart healthy foods, but what should be off limits? There are at least two on this list I wasn’t aware of. Let me know if you’re surprised by any of these.

Simple Sugar

Most people know how sugar fosters diabetes, but did you know it can wreak havoc on your heart and liver? Dr.Mercola Side Effects of Sugar. One of the most common, as well as abused, sources of sugar is regular soda.

Complex Sugars    

This includes brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, honey, and corn syrup. If you want to avoid complex sugars, read the labels on baked goods.

Fatty Acids

So, the debate on butter has been going back and forth. Is butter good for your heart or bad? Current thinking is it’s not as bad for you as once thought. Margarine, however, can be harmfully due to an overabundance of fatty acids.

Refined Carbohydrates

Where do you find refined carbs? Catsup, salad dressing (yes even ranch), and pasta sauces among other sources.

Hydrogenated Oils

This one got me because I use (used) non-dairy powdered creamers in my coffee every day and most are full of these oils. Stick with the fat free creamers.

Additives

Processed meats, hot dogs, lunch meats, and sausages contain multiple additives that are most definitely heart unhealthy.

Heart Unhealthy Activities

Okay, we all know exercise, a workout at the gym or a nice hike on a spring day is heart healthy but what actions hurt your heart?

Becoming a Couch Potato

The biggest cause of couch potatoeism is binge watching TV. Try going to the gym and watching as you jog on the treadmill.

Holding in your Anger

Not letting it out can not only destroy your mental health it can make you physically ill. Stop Stressing Out at Work.

Snoring

Yes, snoring, because snoring might be a sign of sleep apnea which can lead to heart issues.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Your teeth can be a gateway to a heart attack or worse. The buildup of bacteria on tooth plaque can be dangerous to your health.

Last Call for Alcohol

Too much alcohol can lead to multiple health issues including heart and liver disease. For most men no more than two drinks a day, and most women one.

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette

Need I say more? Knockout Smoking.

Ignoring the Signs

The chest pain you continue to have may not be heartburn, and the shooting pain in your left arm isn’t from a workout. Be sure, go see a physician. Get tested, and schedule periodic physicals.

Just One More Bowl of Ice Cream

The more weight you carry, the harder your heart has to work. The harder your heart has to work…

Changing from an Unhealthy Heart Lifestyle to a Healthy one

If you’re like me a couple of the points listed here surprised you. For me, it was the non-dairy creamer and refined carbs. What took you by surprise, and what are you going to change?

Here are a few of the sources I researched.

Mayo Clinic Diet

Everyday Health 9 amazing facts about your heart

Web MD heart healthy exercise

Photo credit: visionshare via Foter.com / CC BY-NC