While losing excess weight, reducing saturated fat in the diet, and partaking in daily physical activity are all key to lowering your risk of heart disease, adding heart-healthy foods to your diet can also help.
Here are 5 foods that are deliciously good for your heart:
Soluble fiber-rich beans can help curb your appetite by helping you feel fuller sooner so you’ll eat less at the meal. Trimming calories will help trim your waistline. Beans can also replace higher-calorie, higher-saturated fat-containing meats and cheeses in entrees.
Research suggests that consuming 3 grams or more per day of ß-glucan soluble fiber, which is found in oats (or barley, for that matter) can help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels as part of a heart-healthy diet.
A small handful of nuts daily may be a nutty way to manage your blood cholesterol levels. Research suggests that nuts can help lower blood cholesterol levels and that eating 1.5 ounces per day of almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachio nuts, or walnuts along with a heart-healthy diet, may reduce your risk of heart disease. (An ounce of nuts = 25 almonds, 9 whole walnuts, or 48 pistachio nuts.)
While fish is low in heart-unhealthy saturated fat, it provides another healthy quality that makes it a ringer for your heart. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help slow the plaque buildup in your arteries that contribute to heart disease as well as reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. It is currently recommended that you eat two fish meals, especially omega 3-rich fatty fish, weekly. Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all good sources of omega 3.
While research shows that whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease, most Americans are falling short of the recommended minimum three servings of whole grains daily. Make sure that at least half your grain choices are whole grains, such as oats, 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, and popcorn to gain that heart-healthy benefit.