What Foods Cause Heart Disease? 15 Foods to Avoid

They say “you are what you eat” and in the case of heart disease, that couldn’t be truer. With diet contributing to many leading culprits of heart disease such as high cholesterol, inflammation, and obesity, what we put inside our bodies can have a lasting impact on our health.

Curious to know what foods cause heart disease? We share some of the most concerning contributors, ahead.

deli meat turkey sandwich

High sodium content in deli meat can lead to a spike in blood pressure and put you at risk of heart disease. | Rez-art/iStock/Getty Image

1. Deli meat

Thanks to high sodium content, deli meats can lead to heart disease. Because salty foods tend to cause a spike in blood pressure, they can cause arteries to narrow and harden. That means these types of foods put you at a higher risk of heart disease.

2. Vegetable juice

At first thought, vegetable juice seems healthy. After all, it’s just vegetables, right? Wrong. Those that drink bottled vegetable juice put their body at risk of high sodium levels. Case in point: One glass of regular V8 juice contains 480 milligrams of sodium, which is roughly one-quarter of the recommended daily salt intake.

If you’re craving veggie juice, consider making your own pressed juices! Doing so can be more nutritious with less sodium.

3. Frozen dessert

Frozen desserts such as ice cream and pie can also put the body at risk of heart disease. Frozen desserts are one of the most abundant sources of trans-fat, which can lead to health concerns including heart disease. If you’re craving something sweet, reach for some berries or a banana. Pro tip: Blending frozen bananas with almond milk and almond butter makes for a delicious, ice cream-like treat.

4. Fast food

By now it should come as no surprise that fast food is not a healthy choice. However, many Americans still consume McDonald’s, In-N-Out Burger, and other popular joints. Thanks to high salt content and unhealthy fats, giving into these cravings can have a detrimental impact on your health, especially those already at risk of heart disease.

5. Canned soup

Canned soups and restaurant soups are also big sodium culprits. If you’re watching salt intake, try to steer clear of this menu item or make a simple soup recipe from scratch.


Butter alternatives such as Margarine are high in trans-fats, which can lead to heart disease. | iStock/Getty Images

6. Margarine

When it comes to heart disease, trans-fats are a big no-no. Unfortunately, butter alternatives such as margarine are chock full of them, making them one of the most common foods to avoid for heart disease. Instead of margarine, reach for olive oil.

7. Soda

Fat isn’t the only dietary culprit of heart disease — added sugar is, too! According to JAMA Internal Medicine, studies show that foods with high levels of added sugar can lead to inflammation, high cholesterol, and obesity, all of which are common factors of heart disease.

8. French fries

We hate to break it to you, but french fries aren’t the best thing for your heart either. Despite being made from potatoes, french fries are considered very unhealthy, especially when it comes to blood sugar. Because of this, french fries are one of the foods to avoid for heart disease.

9. Pizza

Apologies in advance, pizza lovers. As it turns out, pizza pies are a common source of saturated fat in American diets. Saturated fats have a negative impact on the heart, as they lead to clogged arteries and potential cases of heart disease.

10. Candy

As a big cause of inflammation, high cholesterol, and obesity, added sugar can negatively affect your body and overall health. In addition, the repercussions of added sugar in candy are some of the most common causes of heart disease.

11. Beef jerky

Similar to deli meat, beef jerky is high in salt. In fact, one serving can have up to 700 milligrams of sodium. This can be especially harmful to those watching their sodium intake.

12. Coffee creamer

Coffee creamer is another big culprit of trans-fats, which can spike cholesterol levels and impact heart health. With more and more non-dairy options available, traditional coffee creamers are easily avoided. Consider swapping your creamer for a coconut or almond milk creamer and your body will thank you.

13. Bacon and sausage

Albeit abundant in protein, bacon and sausage are not the best foods to eat for your heart. Similar to deli meat, they contain high traces of sodium which can have an impact on heart health.

14. Chinese food

Chinese food might be a favorite takeout option, but it’s not a favorite heart food. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Between the sugar-loaded sauces and deep-fried cooking, Chinese takeout is chock full of fat, sodium, and unhealthy carbs that can have a lasting impact on the body. If you crave Chinese food, consider making healthy versions of your favorite dishes at home.

15. Fried chicken (and other fried foods)

Similar to french fries and fast food, fried foods such as fried chicken are some of the most impactful foods to avoid for heart disease. Four ounces of fried chicken (with the skin on) and 11 strips of bacon have the same amount of cholesterol — no thanks!

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