We’re all looking to live our best lives but when it comes to watching what goes into our body, we can sometimes overlook things. But nutrition and health are directly connected and eating healthier food can make a big difference, especially when it comes to heart health. Since making the right food choices can help reduce your risk of heart diseases, you should be aware of the nutritional impact of everyday ingredients. Sugar is one such common ingredient that has more effect on your heart health than you might think. It’s ironic, but sugar is actually a bitter-sweet part of our everyday lives. Sweet, because most of us love the taste and let’s be honest, it’s hard to resist the cravings. Bitter, because an excessive amount of sugar can lead to an increase in your blood sugar, which can deteriorate your cardiovascular health. Within limited quantities, sugar is good for your body when consumed through whole foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables or simply put, unprocessed foods. However, added sugar that is commonly used in processed foods, can pose adverse risks to your heart and its overall health. The WHO recommends that added sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake. Here are some of the ways in which sugar and heart health are correlated: Sugar and Cardiovascular Diseases While sugar may not directly affect your heart health, having too much of it frequently can lead to many health issues. Sugar intake and heart diseases are linked in a few ways:
- Sugar, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
- Sugar and Cholesterol Level
- Sugar, Weight Gain and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
- Switch to healthier alternatives: When having a sugar craving choose whole fruits which have a natural occurring sugar rather than refined or added sugar in desserts.
- Moderation is key: Balanced portions will make sure you remain healthy even if you have sugar occasionally. When preparing food check your recipes and be mindful of how much sugar you add.
- Balanced Diet: A Balanced diet comprising of all essential macro nutrients like carbs, proteins and fat with dietary fibres, and micro nutrients vitamins and minerals will help maintain heart and overall health.
- Check your store-bought items: When buying food, closely read the nutrition facts to watch sugar intake. You’d be surprised to find an excess of added sugar in food items you least expect such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals or even ketchup.
- Exercise regularly: The benefits of exercise cannot be stressed enough. Whether it’s a 15-minute brisk walk or an intense training session, exercise regulates your body and its workings.