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All About YOU: 3 Heart-Healthy Foods

All About YOU: 3 Heart-Healthy Foods

Three things you should feed your heart every day.

Nuts -- eat at least a handful a day. Nuts are an excellent source of healthful fats and protein. In the Iowa Nurses Study and three other studies, an ounce a day cut the incidence of heart disease by 20 percent to 60 percent. The best nuts (those highest in omega-3 fatty acids) are walnuts, but all nuts are good for you.

More heart-smart foods: Olive oil -- be sure it and other healthy fats (like those in nuts) make up about 25 percent of your daily calories. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which raise your HDL ("healthy") cholesterol. This good cholesterol actually helps clean out your arteries as it moves through your body. That's why when it comes to HDL, higher is generally  better.

Flavonoids -- get 31 milligrams a day. What are flavonoids? Powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that occur in many plant foods, including -- yes, nuts -- plus tea (any kind), red wine, grapes, berries, cranberry juice, orange juice, onions, tomatoes, and tomato juice. You can get your daily dose by drinking two-and-a-half glasses of cranberry juice or several cups of tea.

Medically reviewed in April 2019. Updated in August 2019.

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