Focusing on fresh foods full of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants can decrease your risk of developing heart disease.

Eating for a healthy heart means filling your plate with heart-healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, paying attention to fiber, eating fish a couple times a week, eating healthy fats and limiting unhealthy fats like trans fats, as well as salt. And although no single food is a cure-all, certain foods have been shown to improve your heart health.

You might be trying to improve, or maintain, your heart health. Control the bad cholesterol with a healthy diet and permit your heart to work inside a better way. If you’re refusing to eat well, you’re missing out on some necessary nutrients your system needs to keep your heart healthy. Add some following foods to your diet not only to help your heart but also your overall health. Here are some healthy foods that keep the heart healthy.

heart healthy foods

heart healthy foods

The Best Foods for Your Heart

Flaxseed

Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.

Whole foods

Keep it low-sodium by opting for low-sodium and reduced sodium options if purchasing processed food products. The optimal choice is to choose whole food sources as much as possible as these don’t contain any added sodium nor are they processed. Keep in mind: closer to nature = less sodium and processing.

Citrus fruits

Women who consume high amounts of the flavonoids found in oranges and grapefruits have a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke (caused by a clot) than women who don’t get as much of these compounds, a recent study found. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Beware of citrus juices that contain added sugar. And be aware that grapefruit products may interfere with the action of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

Sardines

These spiny little creatures are also loaded with omega-3s in the form of fish oil, which increases “good” cholestrol levels and reduces the risk of sudden heart attacks in people who have experienced previous attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stick to fresh ones to avoid the canned variety’s high salt content.

Healthy Foods

Healthy Foods

 Garlic

It’s totally worth the vampire-repelling breath! Not only does garlic add a kick of flavor to any dish, but it also reduces cholesterol and blood pressure and improves blood flow. You might want to stick to fresh garlic to reap the most benefits, though. While both fresh and processed garlic help with promoting healthy blood flow in the heart, research suggests that fresh, crushed garlic is more effective (though it’s worth noting that it was a study done in mice).

Oatmeal

when choosing carbohydrates, choose whole grains that are a true whole food (i.e. if you read the ingredients you’ll know exactly what that food is and where it came from). Oatmeal is a great heart healthy carbohydrate as it contains fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, folate and niacin! Another favorite of mine is sweet potatoes.

Nuts

Nuts are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats. Research suggests that people who eat nuts—walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts (which actually are legumes)—two to four days or more per week have a lower incidence of heart disease than people who eat them less often.