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Top 10 Heart-healthy foods

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Top 10 heart-healthy foods: Salmon, flax seeds, nuts, beans & legumes, berries, red wine, OATMEAL, avocado, tea (black or GREEN).

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“1. Salmon. Wild salmon, not farm raised, is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost the immune system. The good fats in salmon reduce inflammation, keep blood flowing and lower triglycerides. Other heart healthy fish are sardines, barramundi and tuna. Two servings a week is a good start.”

“2. Ground flax seeds. Rich in fiber and vegetarian Omega-3 that is easily added to a variety of foods like soups and salads. Try them in cereal, yogurt and protein smoothies. Helps reduce blood cholesterol.”

“3. Nuts. Walnuts are loaded with vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids and are a delicious source for magnesium. These nuts help reduce cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends eating four servings of unsalted, oil-free nuts a week as part of a balanced diet. Note: These are high in calories. Moderation is key.”

“4. Beans and legumes. Include red kidney beans and black beans, chickpeas and lentils. These are all rich in magnesium, vitamin B complex and are a good source of soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol. These also add folate and magnesium to the diet. Soy is a lean vegetarian protein that may lower cholesterol. Edamame is loaded with fiber that keeps cholesterol down.”

“5. Berries. Berries in general are good, but especially blueberries, which are a good source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that protects blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and reduces LDL. Oranges are rich in flavonoids, vitamin C, potassium, folic and fiber. Oranges also help lower blood pressure and protect blood vessels. (Eat the whole fruit, don’t just drink the juice or you miss out on the heart-healthy fiber.) Other good sources are cantaloupe and papaya.”

“6. Red wine. The antioxidants like catechins and resveratrol in red wine appear to increase HDL and reduce LDL. Limit to one four-ounce glass of wine a day. (If you’re a teetotaler, you can get these benefits in fruits and vegetables.)”

“7. Oatmeal has Omega-3 fatty acids and is also rich in soluble fiber, magnesium, potassium and niacin. Oatmeal helps to lower LDL. Try steel cut oats for the highest fiber.”

“8. Avocado. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fat, which lowers LDL. They promote the absorption of carotenoids that improve heart health. Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat sources may improve LDL numbers. An example would be to use vegetable oil (unsaturated) instead of butter (saturated).”

“9. Tea (black or green) is rich in flavonoids, which is an antioxidant that protects cells from damaging free radicals.”

“10. Dark chocolate. The high flavanol content has a blood thinning effect that the heart loves. A compound in dark chocolate called epicatechin boosts nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Pick carefully at the candy counter. The dark chocolate has to be 70 percent pure cocoa or higher to be beneficial. The recommended portion is two small pieces a day.”

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