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7 Foods that Help Prevent Heart Disease

May 21, 2010

Heart disease is a growing concern in America today. Here are some foods that are believed to help prevent heart disease and improve cardiovascular health.

1. Salmon

Salmon has omega 3’s, which have been shown to prevent erratic heart rhythms. They also improve cholesterol ratios and reduce blood pressure. Aim for 2 servings each week, and leave the skin on for the best benefits. Grill salmon with some veggies, or glaze it with a lemon sauce to add some zest.

2. Beans

Beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, and black beans, have several health benefits. They are high in fiber, potassium and folate. The fiber will help you feel full and satisfied and will lower cholesterol. Potassium is necessary to keep the heart muscle beating strongly and regularly. Folate breaks down certain amino acids that have been found to increase the risk of heart disease. Add some beans to a salad, or use them as a side dish for dinner. Eat them several times a week to keep a healthy heart.

3. Berries

Not only do they make a great sweet treat, but berries are powerful heart-friendly foods. They contain polyphenols that work to prevent cell damage. They also have antioxidants to help the body fight off disease. Add some berries to your oatmeal, or munch on them for a snack. Your sweet tooth, waistline, and heart will all thank you.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is a whole grain, and the fiber will help lower cholesterol. Oatmeal also keeps your digestive tract in prime shape, and it helps protect against certain cancers. Eat it for breakfast, and add berries for an extra heart-healthy boost.

5. Skim Milk

Milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is crucial for the body. In addition to building strong bones, it also helps lower blood pressure. It will keep the walls of your arteries working properly so that your heart will not have to work as hard to get blood pumped throughout your body. Drink at least a glass a day, and add some other sources of calcium to meet your daily calcium quota.

6. Vegetables

We've heard all of our lives that vegetables are good for us, but they are very powerful. Dark vegetables are full of carotenoids and flavonoids that will help you achieve optimum vascular health. Saute veggies for dinner or add them as a side dish.

7. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants to help protect your body from free radicals. It also helps lower your risk of having a heart attack. One small square is an adequate amount to reap the benefits of dark chocolate. Anymore is considered excessive because of the fat, calories, and caffeine that it contains. Eat a small square for a snack, or munch on a square for a delicious end to your lunch.

Keeping your heart healthy is essential to overall good health. Along with a proper diet and exercise, these foods will help to keep your heart in great shape.

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