Your body is like a shrine, and it’s up to you to take care of it. The best tool? Food! What you eat determines how well the shrine works. This means limiting or avoiding foods that fill the body with toxins. Here’s what makes the list.
1. Red Meat
Red meat is a rich source of protein, but it comes with lots of saturated fat. It’s the reason why red meat is linked to various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, and prostate.
The risk is even higher when meat is well-done. Cooking at high temperatures (and for a long time) creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs), a carcinogenic toxin.1 Daily intake can also bring on heart disease, according to a 2012 study in Archives of Internal Medicine. With every 3-ounce serving, the risk of death from heart disease increases by 13 percent.2
2. Processed Meat
Processed meat, like bacon and sausage, is even worse. Each 1.5-ounce serving raises the risk of death due to heart disease by 20 percent. That’s just after two strips of bacon!3
Eating processed meat will also make your salt intake skyrocket. In fact, it’s the second biggest source of sodium.4 This will easily bring on hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease.
3. Grilled And Charred Meat
When meat is grilled, the sugars, creatine, and amino acids create heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from flames can also stick to the meat. Both compounds are carcinogenic and can mutate the DNA.5
Unsurprisingly, grilled red and processed meat make the most toxins. Charred, burnt, and barbecued meat are the biggest offenders. Have grilled fish and poultry instead. Compared to red and processed meat, these options form fewer HCAs and PAHs.6
4. Deep-Fried Foods
One can find French fries, chicken nuggets, and doughnuts everywhere in America. Unfortunately, deep frying oxidizes oil, creating trans fats while destroying unsaturated fats.7 The process forms toxic chemicals, too.8
According to the Institute of Medicine, you should eat little to no trans fats. They decrease “good” HDL cholesterol and increase “bad” LDL cholesterol, two factors linked to heart disease. If trans fats are completely avoided, Americans would have 10,000 to 20,000 fewer heart attacks every year.9
Soda, soft drink, pop – call it whatever you want, but it’s one of the worst things for the body. These sugar-sweetened drinks are a major reason behind America’s growing waistlines.
Daily intake of these sugary drinks is also associated with heart disease and diabetes, two conditions that often co-exist with obesity. A single can of soda offers 150 calories, about the same as 10 teaspoons of sugar!10 However, know that bottled fruit drinks, lemonade, and iced tea are no better. These drinks are just as sugary as soda, if not worse.
6. White Flour Foods
White pasta, bread, and rice are made with refined grains. They’re processed so much that all the good stuff – fiber, vitamins, and minerals – have been removed. The only thing left? A starchy carb with little nutrients.11
With less fiber, white flour foods can’t control blood glucose like the brown kind does. Instead, they actually raise glucose levels, increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes.12 Fiber also helps lower cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease. But with little-to-no fiber, white foods cannot do the same.
7. Processed Meals
More than 75 percent of our sodium intake comes from processed meals. TV dinners and boxed mac n’ cheese are perfect examples. Yet, the average American eats 3,400 milligrams of sodium – almost double the recommended 2,300 milligrams.13 It explains why almost 50 million Americans have hypertension.
Eating lots of sodium increases pressure on the arteries, causing hypertension and making it hard for blood to flow through. In turn, the risk of heart disease increases.14 And since processed meals are the biggest source, cutting them out will make a huge difference.
Treat your body well by skipping these foods. Your shrine will benefit in the long run.
|↑1||Zheng, Wei, and Sang-Ah Lee. “Well-done meat intake, heterocyclic amine exposure, and cancer risk.” Nutrition and cancer 61, no. 4 (2009): 437-446.|
|↑2||Pan, An, Qi Sun, Adam M. Bernstein, Matthias B. Schulze, JoAnn E. Manson, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies.” Archives of internal medicine 172, no. 7 (2012): 555-563.|
|↑3||Protein. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑4||Pretorius, Beulah, and Hettie C. Schönfeldt. “The contribution of processed pork meat products to total salt intake in the diet.” Food Chemistry (2016).|
|↑5, ↑6||Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk. National Cancer Institute.|
|↑7||Guallar-Castillón, Pilar, Fernando Rodríguez-Artalejo, Esther Lopez-Garcia, Luz M. León-Muñoz, Pilar Amiano, Eva Ardanaz, Larraitz Arriola et al. “Consumption of fried foods and risk of coronary heart disease: Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study.” BMJ 344 (2012): e363.|
|↑8||Bordin, Keliani, Mariana Tomihe Kunitake, Keila Kazue Aracava, and Carmen Silvia Favaro Trindade. “Changes in food caused by deep fat frying-A review.” Archivos latinoamericanos de nutricion 63, no. 1 (2013): 5.|
|↑9||Trans Fats: The Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑10||Sugar Drinks. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑11||Whole Grains. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑12||Sun, Qi, Donna Spiegelman, Rob M. van Dam, Michelle D. Holmes, Vasanti S. Malik, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women.” Archives of internal medicine 170, no. 11 (2010): 961-969.|
|↑13||Sources of Sodium. American Heart Association.|
|↑14||Sacks, Frank M., Laura P. Svetkey, William M. Vollmer, Lawrence J. Appel, George A. Bray, David Harsha, Eva Obarzanek et al. “Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.” New England journal of medicine 344, no. 1 (2001): 3-10.|