Foods to help your heart

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You always have a running with salt and fat. But making choices healthy for your heart is as easy as adding spices to your food, which add flavour without all the bad stuff. Here are a few from WebMD.

Black beans. Mild, tender black beans are packed with heart-healthy nutrients. Folate, antioxidants, and magnesium can help lower blood pressure. Their fiber helps control both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Add beans to boost soups and salads.

Oily fish. Salmon easily comes to mind, but so should other oily fish, including sardines and mackerel. They contain omega-3s, which are fats that may lessen the risk of heart rhythm disorders and lower blood pressure. They may also lower triglycerides and curb inflammation.

Cooking Tip: Bake in foil with herbs and veggies. Toss extra cooked fish and salads.

Olive oil. This oil is a healthy fat made from smashed olives. It’s rich in heart-healthy antioxidants. They may protect your blood vessels. When olive oil replaces saturated fat (like butter), it can help lower cholesterol levels. Try it on salads and cooked veggies, or with bread.

Walnuts. A small handful of walnuts a day may lower your cholesterol. It may also protect against inflammation in your heart’s arteries. Walnuts are packed with omega-3s, healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, plant sterols, and fibre. The benefits come when walnuts replace bad fats, like those in chips and cookies.

Almonds. Almonds go well with vegetables, fish, chicken, and desserts. They have plant sterols, fibre, and heart-healthy fats. Almonds may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Grab a small handful a day. Tip: Toast them to boost their creamy, mild flavour.

Uncooked sweet potato. Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. With a low glycemic index, these spuds won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar. They also have fibre, vitamin A, and lycopene.

Tip: Boost their natural sweetness with a sprinkle of lime juice instead of sugary toppings.

Oranges. Sweet and juicy, oranges have the cholesterol-fighting fibre pectin. They also have potassium, which helps control blood pressure. In one study, two cups of orange juice a day boosted health of blood vessels. It also lowered blood pressure in men.

Oatmeal. A warm bowl of oatmeal fills you up for hours, fights snack attacks, and helps keep blood sugar levels stable over time — making it useful for people with diabetes, too. Oats’ fibre can help your heart by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). Best results come from using steel cut or slow cooked oats.

Cherries. Sweet cherries, sour cherries, dried cherries, and cherry juice — they’re all good. All are packed with an antioxidants called anthocyanins. They’re believed to help protect blood vessels.

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