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Heart disease is a growing problem. According to International Journal of Molecular SciencesHeart disease is the leading cause of death in Western countries and accounts for 30% of all deaths worldwide.

Your risk of heart disease has many contributing factors, like genetics, age, the amount of movement you get daily, and your diet, with many researchers believing that diet is the number one way to prevent these diseases. But how exactly does food and your daily diet impact your heart health and your risk of disease?

Read on to find out what the research says about eating habits that may contribute to heart disease. And for more healthy eating tips, check out 6 Worst Snacks for High Blood Pressure.

How Food Affects Your Heart

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Your daily eating habits can contribute to heart disease in several ways. To better understand them, it’s best to look at common problems related to heart disease. For example, according to research by Education at heart, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic inflammation and being considered “obese” are all things that usually lead to disease and can also be greatly affected by your diet.

Eating habits harmful to heart disease

The American Heart Association recently released its most up-to-date list of guidelines for maintaining a healthy heart. Although each person has their own unique needs, these research-based guidelines are a useful starting point.

These guidelines make it clear that to help reduce your risk of heart disease, it is important to limit your intake of highly salty foods, foods and drinks with added sugar, ultra-processed foods and alcohol.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology sets out similar guidelines and found that a “poor quality” diet, consisting of the foods mentioned above and low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can significantly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

New search also found that 58% of the Western diet is made up of processed foods, and these foods significantly increase the risk of developing heart disease, with this risk increasing the more often you eat these ultra-processed foods.

RELATED: Red Meat Is Even Worse For Your Heart Than We Thought, New Study Says

Healthy eating habits for your heart

The AHA guidelines also include helpful tips on foods and eating habits that also have a positive effect on your heart. They suggest eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, incorporating whole grains, and choosing healthy, lean protein sources.. These patterns, combined with suggestions of foods and drinks to limit, can go a long way toward improving your risk of heart disease.

Ultimately, the research seems to agree that reducing your risk of heart disease is a combined effort. It cannot be solved with just one specific food or nutrient, but can be significantly reduced with a balanced diet that follows many of the suggested guidelines.