Truth or Trash: Heart Disease Myths
For years, bacon and eggs have been banned from the breakfast table based on the belief that you’ll drop dead from a heart attack with one bite. As a result, our mornings now consist of sugar-loaded cereals, donuts, and pop tarts. What we’re coming to find out is that saturated fat might not play as large of a role in heart disease as we’ve been lead to believe.
Research is now beginning to shed light on the role that refined carbohydrates may play in cardiovascular disease development. Harvard researchers found that those with higher intakes of fiber-rich, whole grains had significantly lower rates of heart disease. Additionally, those with diets higher in refined carbohydrates and added sugars had a 10% increased risk of cardiovascular death.
We are in a time of information overload. Every direction you turn is telling you one thing that contradicts what you’ve just been told. So let’s get down to the truth about heart disease and separate myth from fact.
1. MYTH: EGGS SHOULD BE AVOIDED.
If you’re watching your cholesterol it’s likely you’ve heard the recommendation to cut eggs from your diet. Egg lovers, fear no more. Moderate dietary cholesterol doesn’t have a significant impact on blood cholesterol in most healthy adults.
Eggs are loaded with 14 different vitamins and minerals that are essential to keep your body functioning as it should. Choline, an essential nutrient found in the highest amounts in eggs, liver and peanuts, works to keep your muscles and brain functioning. It also moves lipids around the body, reducing fat accumulation in and around the liver. So basically, eggs rule.
2. I WILL KNOW IF I HAVE HEART DISEASE.
There’s a reason the number 1 killer of men and women is coined the “silent killer.”
The best preventative step you can take is to determine if you’re at risk. From there, start with small steps and changes that contribute to an overall heart-healthy lifestyle.
3. MY DIABETES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HEART DISEASE.
Irregular blood sugar, whether managed through medication or not, significantly increases your risk for heart disease. High blood pressure, obesity and physical inactivity are all common factors that increase risk.
Avoiding added sugars and reducing the number of refined carbohydrates in your diet is the best way to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. Instead of overloading your body with sugary, processed foods, give your body the nutrients it needs and deserves.
4. EXERCISE AFTER A HEART ATTACK IS BAD ON MY BODY.
After such a traumatic experience, it’s essential to find ways to stay physically active that aren’t overly demanding of the body. Staying active is key to keeping your heart, lungs, and muscles working efficiently.
5. HEART DISEASE RUNS IN MY FAMILY, I’M DOOMED.
While genetics may increase your risk for heart disease, it’s all the more reason to take your heart health seriously and follow preventative measures.
Not only will building your plate predominantly around fiber-rich fruits and vegetables keep you full and satisfied, but the nutrients and antioxidants safeguard your heart from the environmental damage we constantly put it through. Whether it’s the peppers in your Southwest Scramble, the black beans in your lunchtime Fajita Bowl or protein-backed Snack Box almonds fighting your afternoon hunger, take pride in the fact that you’ve done something wonderful for your body.
Want more heart-healthy tips? Check out our other American Heart Month blogs: