Consuming ultra-processed food can significantly increase the risk, according to new research, of cardiovascular disease and early death. 62% increased risk is noticed in a study with people eating more than four servings of processed food every day.
A potential connection between a large intake of a particular food, such as pre-ready meal and packaged meals, and damage to health was noted in two studies. Heavily processed food has gone through many processes, both physical and chemical, to give them better flavors and be more pleasing to the eye. Low vitamin and fiber percent and higher in salt, fat, and sugar are the common ingredients of such foods, and the list goes on and on. A long list of additives is also included in the products. Some being preservatives and flavorings.
Both studies were published by the British Medical Journal. The first one included over 105,000 adults from France. The French study found a 10% rise in ultra-processed food, linking it to the increased risk of coronary heart disease, higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and an 11% chance of cerebrovascular illnesses affecting the blood supply of the brain leading to a potential stroke. The second study, administered by the University of Navarra in Spain, keeps track of around 20,000 adults for more than a decade. They found that each additional serving after four increased the risks by an additional 18%. The researchers claim that higher taxes and an increase in advertising restrictions on processed foods must be considered to help people avoid unhealthy eating habits. Fruits and vegetables are seen as one of the best ways to stay healthy since they are unprocessed or minimally processed foods.
Victoria Taylor, from the British Heart Foundation, recommends adopting a Mediterranean diet which includes a lot of minimally or entirely unprocessed food such as fish, fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains, and others. Not smoking and exercising on a regular basis, alongside the diet, is extremely beneficial for lowering cardiovascular risks and improving one’s health in general.
We compiled a list of some foods by the level of processing they have been exposed to.
Unprocessed and Minimally Processed Foods:
- Fresh meat.
Usually, products made by adding sugar, oil, salt, and similar ingredients to unprocessed foods. Some of the foods being hand-made bread, beer, canned vegetables, salted and sugared nuts, smoked meats, and many others.
Products like pre-prepared pizzas, meal substitute shakes, cereal bars, hamburgers, fizzy drinks, and many other unhealthy products on the everyday market.