Before filling your belly with a burger, fries and milkshake today, chew on this: nearly half (45%) of all heart-related deaths in the U.S. are linked with how you consume 10 foods and ingredients.
If you eat too much of the bad foods and ingredients on this list and too little of the good foods and ingredients, your life might be at risk, according to new research from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers say eating too much or not enough of certain foods and ingredients can wreak havoc on your heart health. The new research on deaths from heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes reaffirms previous studies while providing more detail on the nutritional benefits or drawbacks of consuming specific foods.
Eat more of these foods to boost your heart health
According to the Associated Press, the study says you should eat at least the minimum recommended amount of the following foods to boost your heart health:
- Nuts and seeds: Five 1-ounce servings (about 20 nuts per serving) each week
- Vegetables: 2 cups of cooked (or 4 cups of raw) veggies each day
- Seafood: About 8 ounces of seafood rich in omega-3 fats, like salmon and sardines, weekly
- Fruits: Three average-sized fruits daily
- Whole grains: 2.5 daily servings
- Polyunsaturated fats: Such fats should make up 11 percent of your daily calories. They are found in many vegetable oils.
Foods to cut back on
Conversely, researchers say you should cut back on eating the following, at no more than these recommended amounts:
- Sodium/salt: Just under 1 teaspoon, or 2,000 milligrams, maximum per day
- Processed meats: None
- Sugar-sweetened drinks: None
- Red meat: One serving weekly
The research was based on a combination of U.S. government data regarding 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes, and an analysis of health surveys that asked participants to reveal their eating habits.