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Diet and Nutrition

Celebrate Heart Health Month!

This Valentine's Day, don't just tell your sweetheart you love them- do something about it by taking care of your own heart! Here are the top 5 foods to love for heart health:

  1. Sew some wild Oats! A steaming hot bowl of oatmeal is just what the doctor (and dietitian) ordered for a heart-healthy breakfast. Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps lower total cholesterol and LDL ("lousy") cholesterol. Oats may also help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain.
  2. Beans- the "musical" fruit, is not a fruit at all. Beans, peas and lentils are part of the legume family- all of which have heart healthy properties. Similar to oats, beans are high in soluble fiber, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and LDL. Beans are also an excellent source of folic acid, a B-vitamin found to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.
  3. Berries- what could be more romantic (and heart healthy), than a chocolate dipped strawberry? Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants- powerful chemicals that help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. They're also very high in fiber and low in calories, so they're easy on the waistline. Dip them in a dollop of dark chocolate, and you've just boosted the antioxidant content.
  4. Broccoli- if there's one vegetable you should always have on hand, its broccoli. This anti-oxidant rich powerhouse can be steamed, sautéed or added to salads. It's an excellent source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.
  5. Go Nuts all year round and add almonds and walnuts to your grocery list. Almonds help reduce cholesterol levels and walnuts are a great source of omega-3-fatty acids (the type also found in fatty fish such as salmon, halibut and tuna) that help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Add fish to your list of heart-healthy foods this year, too.

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Last Reviewed: Feb 04, 2008

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati