This 28-Day Healthy Heart Challenge Is Like a Makeover for Your Ticker



Eating whole foods is ideal but not always possible IRL. Still, some processed foods are much healthier than others — frozen strawberries and whole-wheat bread, for instance, are minimally processed to optimize nutrition, says Stefani Sassos, R.D.N., nutrition director of the Good Housekeeping Institute. “These can be an affordable addition to a heart-healthy diet,” she says.

Recent research, however, ties “ultra-processed” foods (think boxed mac ’n’ cheese, most packaged cookies, candy) to increased risk of dementia and heart disease; they’re also loaded with added sugar, sodium, saturated fat and calories. If a food’s ingredients include things you’d never see in a home kitchen (like high-fructose corn syrup, emulsifiers or chemical additives), it is likely ultraprocessed, and it’s smart to give it a miss.


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