How junk food can affect your heart

Think of Your Heart chronicles by , April 1, 2013 - 15:00

While people often equate junk food with fast food, junk food actually makes an appearance on our dinner tables more often than you would think. In broad terms, junk food should be defined as any meal that’s high in salt, refined sugars, and saturated fatty acids found in red meat, butter, cheese and cream.

A single meal of junk food 
can be harmful for your heart. 

The North American diet, which is heavy on the junk food, is responsible for a number of cardiovascular risk factors and diseases, including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. According to a 2012 study at the Montreal Heart Institute, a single meal of junk food can temporarily increase inflammation levels, causing damage to arteries. Eating junk food regularly — and the sustained increase in inflammation levels this causes — can lead to atherosclerosis (build-up of fat in the arteries).

The solution? Switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fibre, olive oil, fish and legumes. Following this type of diet will lower your risk of inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

With the cooperation of Sébastien Lacroix, M.Sc., Ph.D. student in Nutrition

The Montreal Heart Institute is in no way responsible for the following comments. These comments reflect the views and opinions of the users and not those of the Montreal Heart Institute.

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