11 Foods That Are Good for Your Heart

Eating a healthy diet with the right number of calories is one good way to take care of your heart. The American Heart Association suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts. That's great advice. So before you write up your next grocery list, take a look at some of our favorite heart-healthy foods.​


Red Apples

Red apples

Apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent and may help prevent blood clots as well. Apples contain vitamins and fiber, come in several delicious varieties and are portable. Eat an apple with a handful of walnuts or almonds as a healthy snack or add sliced apple to your salads. 



Avocados on a table

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Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, just like olive oil, plus they're loaded with vitamins and phytochemicals that work as antioxidants to protect your heart (and other parts of your body).


Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables on a table
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Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, plus they're low in calories. Eating green leafy vegetables has also been associated with better retention of memory as you age. Use fresh spinach leaves as a salad green or serve Swiss chard or kale as a side dish. Munch on fresh broccoli with a veggie dip at snack time.



bowl of oatmeal with blueberries on top
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Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta glucan that helps reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber also helps keep your digestive system healthy. Enjoy oatmeal with just a small amount of brown sugar and plenty of strawberries and walnuts for breakfast. Cold cereals made with oats are also good for you—just be sure to choose brands that don't contain extra sugar.


Olive Oil

bowl of olive oil with olives
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Olive oil reduces your risk of heart disease by lowering your LDL cholesterol levels, and it's an essential component of a Mediterranean diet. Choose olive oil for cooking or make an excellent dip for whole grain bread by pouring a bit of olive oil in a small bowl and add a bit of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of oregano.


Red Wine

Two people clinking wine glasses
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Red wine contains polyphenols that may be good for your heart. But be sure to enjoy it in moderation. Studies show that only four to eight ounces of red wine per day are all you need. You can skip the alcohol altogether and drink dealcoholized wine and still get the health benefits.



Filet of salmon topped with a lemon slice
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Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that protect your heart by reducing both inflammation and the risk of blood clots. These fats also work to keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Eat salmon or another oily ocean fish like tuna, sardines, or herring at least twice weekly. For a heart-healthy meal, try grilled salmon steaks with a green vegetable and a side salad with a sprinkling of lemon juice instead of high-calorie salad dressing.


Soy and Soy Foods

Soy beans, milk, tofu, and more soy foods
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Soy protein may prevent heart attacks, especially if it's used as a substitute for red meat. Consuming soy instead of meat will also reduce your saturated fat intake and up your omega-3 fatty acids. Add tofu to your favorite stir fry or pour soy milk on your morning cereal.


Tomatoes and Tomato Products

Jar of tomato sauce and tomatoes
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Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, and concentrated tomato products are high in lycopene. Adding lycopene to your diet may help protect your heart, especially if your current diet isn't giving you all the antioxidants you need. So add a couple of thick slices of tomatoes to sandwiches and salads or enjoy a tomato-based sauce on whole wheat pasta.



Bowl of walnuts
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Most nuts contain monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and other natural substances that help keep cholesterol levels in check. Walnuts are special because they're also a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts make a great snack with a piece of fruit. For breakfast, sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top of a bowl of warm oatmeal along with a little honey or blueberries.


Whole Grains

Assorted whole grains and whole grain foods
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Whole grains provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber that will help to keep your heart healthy and lower LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Make a sandwich with two slices of 100-percent whole-grain bread, three ounces of lean turkey breast, lots of sliced tomatoes and avocado, plus lettuce and a bit of mustard. You can also switch from white pasta to whole grain pasta.

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Article Sources
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