From breakfast to dinner (and snacks in between) you’re entire day can be heart-healthy! A good-for-your-ticker diet doesn’t have to be bland or boring, as we show you here with these heart-y foods that will leave you satisfied.
Oatmeal: Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fibre-rich super food can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.
Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties—which contain more fibre—and top your bowl off with a banana for another 4 grams of fibre.
Salmon: Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.
Avocado: Add a bit of avocado to a sandwich or spinach salad to up the amount of heart-healthy fats in your diet. Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.
Olive oil: Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease. Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil.
Nuts: Walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids and, along with almonds and macadamia nuts, are loaded with mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Plus, nuts increase fibre in the diet, says Dr. Sinatra. “And like olive oil, they are a great source of healthy fat.”
Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whatever berry you like best—are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. “Blackberries and blueberries are especially great,” says Sinatra. “But all berries are great for your vascular health.”
Legumes: Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fibre.
Spinach: Spinach can help keep your ticker in top shape thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber. But upping your servings of any veggies is sure to give your heart a boost. The Physicians’ Health Study examined more than 15,000 men without heart disease for a period of 12 years.
Flaxseed: Full of fibre and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.
Soy: Soy may lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it’s still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet.
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