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5 Foods to Eat for a Heart Healthier You

February 4, 2015
Find Rob Masterson, RD, CNSC on Twitter @RobMastersonRD

The month of February is American Heart Month, which aims to bring awareness to heart health and prevention of cardiovascular disease. On a worldwide scale, CVD accounts for over 16.7 million deaths, or 29.2 percent of total deaths each year. Here in the United States, the cost of treating CVD is over 324 billion dollars.

Many of these deaths and treatment costs can be attributed to poor diet. To help prevent yourself or others from becoming try eating these heart healthy foods on a regular basis and pass the information along to a friend or family member.

1. BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries are high in two heart healthy components: antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. The anti-inflammatory components found in blueberries can help reduce your risk of heart disease by strengthening your blood vessels against oxidative stress among other benefits.

2. OATMEAL

Oatmeal is a great way to start the day. Oatmeal is packed with fiber, which can lower you LDL (bad) cholesterol. Add some fruit like blueberries, strawberries, or a banana to give your bowl of oatmeal an antioxidant boost and some additional fiber.

3. AVOCADO

The majority of fat found in the avocado is monounsaturated, which is a heart healthy fat that has been shown to lower cholesterol. Research has also shown that avocados are rich in a natural substance called beta-sitosterol, also shown to lower cholesterol levels.

4. FLAXSEED

While studying as a dietetic intern I had the opportunity to research this particular food in great detail, and the heart health benefits are very evident. Besides being high in fiber, flaxseed is also has the richest known source of dietary lignans, which are believed to have lipid lowering effects and antioxidant properties that reduce the risk of CVD.

5. NUTS

Besides being an inexpensive and highly convenient food item, nuts such as walnuts and almonds can also help lower your LDL cholesterol and help reduce your risk of developing blood clots that could lead to a heart attack. No matter what nut you prefer, nearly all of them are a good source of unsaturated fat, plant sterols, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are beneficial for heart health.


Rob Masterson on Twitter.

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