Many foods can helps to keep your heart at its best. Some help to lower blood pressure. Others keep your cholesterol control. Add these items to your cart:
This deep-sea fish is the first choice because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3 fatty acids have an anticoagulant effect so they allow your blood to flow,” says Rachel Johnson, PhD, Bickford professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. They also help lower your triglycerides (a type of fat that can lead to heart disease).
Target for at least two servings of fatty fish a week, says the American Heart Association. One serving is 3.5 ounces. This is a bit bigger than a computer mouse.
Nibbling on 5 ounces of nuts per week can reduce your risk of heart disease by half. Walnuts have many “good” fats. If you use these monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fats (like butter), you will cut down on your “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase your “good” HDL cholesterol.
Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. (They do not have the same kind of omega-3 fatty acids as fish.)
These berries are loaded with polyphenols – antioxidants that trap damaging free radicals in your body. They also provide fiber and vitamin C, both of which are associated with a lower risk of stroke.
Other options: All berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries – are a good choice. Fruits and vegetables in general are an excellent choice because of their nutrients and fiber.
- Fat-Free or Low-fat Milk or Yogurt
“Dairy products are high in potassium and this has a hypotensive effect,” says Johnson. If you choose low-fat or fat-free dairy, you will get little to no saturated fat, the type of fat your cholesterol can increase.
Other options: Most fruits and vegetables also have some potassium, Johnson says. Bananas, oranges and potatoes are particularly good sources.
Chickpeas and other legumes (lentils, other types of beans) are a prime source of soluble fiber – the kind of fiber that can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. If you are buying canned beans, look for low sodium or salt-free varieties (sodium can increase your blood pressure). Rinse in water to wash off any added salt.