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Top Seven Heart Healthy Foods

By HERWriter
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Heart & Blood related image Photo: Getty Images

According to the Women's Heart Foundation, 267,000 American women die from heart attacks every year, which is six times the number of deaths caused by breast cancer. Another 31,837 women die each year of congestive heart failure, representing 62.6 percent of all heart failure deaths.

Eating smart is one of the best ways to have a healthy heart.

According to nutritionist Malena Perdomo, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, it is essential to keep a low-fat diet, especially in saturated fat and transfat.

Here are some heart healthy foods to keep your precious ticker in shape. These recommendations were provided by registered dietitian, Jennifer Shea.

Avocados. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats and plant sterols, which are compounds that may help reduce bad levels of cholesterol in the blood. To add this magical fruit to your diet, consider incorporating some with your salad or sandwich.

Bananas. Bananas, which are loaded with potassium, help the body maintain a healthy blood pressure as well as balance the sodium and water in the body. Consider replacing oil in some recipes with ½ cup mashed banana and 4 tablespoons of oil to replace 1 cup of oil.

Black or Kidney Beans. Beans contain protein and carbohydrates, as well as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can help reduce LDL (bad) levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Blueberries. Blueberries are one of the most powerful disease fighting foods. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber. All berries are heart-healthy and packed with antioxidants, including raspberries, cranberries and strawberries.

Broccoli. Broccoli contains vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, calcium and fiber. Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are also packed with powerful antioxidants, which may have anti-cancer properties.

Oatmeal. According to the American Cancer Society, it has been found that those who eat more oats are less likely to develop heart disease. Oats are whole grains rich in a satiating soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan can help decrease the total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood. Shea recommends a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, topped with fresh fruit and walnuts, or in the evening as a heart-healthy dessert.

Salmon. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other omega-3 rich foods twice a week for heart health benefits. Salmon (including canned salmon) is rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect against irregular heart rhythms and may offer defense against depression and age-related memory loss.


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EmpowHER Guest

We are looking to also create a page like this for our dieting website. Can anyone help?


February 17, 2011 - 9:02am

These are very healthy foods and I think it's great to encourage people to eat them.

It's also important though to encourage people to diversify your diet. Sometimes focusing on the "best" foods can be misleading because what's really needed is diversity. Most fruits and vegetables are healthy and different ones have different nutrients and phytochemicals.

For example, instead of eating just bananas, eat a banana one time, then next time eat an orange, next time an apple, next time grapes, a kiwi, strawberry. Better yet, eat with people and cut all of them up and mix them up. This way you maximize the benefits by diversifying your diet so you're more likely to get all the nutrients you need. In summer, eat what's in season, or better yet, grow it yourself, if you have space in your yard!

For another example, instead of just eating salmon, eat salmon one time, sardines the next, herring the next...and buy fish that is sustainably produced if possible, using seafood watch. Farmed salmon is not only less healthy but is also damaging ecologically...sometimes those canned sardines are about the healthiest fish you can get, or other wild-caught fatty fish low on the food chain.

February 15, 2011 - 7:14am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.