6 Foods for a Heart-Healthy Diet

meals

Want to keep your heart healthy? There’s a lot of things you can do.

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to. Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. These things will make a difference. 

But the thing that has the biggest impact on heart health? Your diet. Here are six heart-healthy foods you should eat:

 1. Leafy Greens

 Try spinach, kale, collard greens, or cauliflower. They’re packed with vitamins and nutrients that help control blood pressure, improve the health of your arteries, and prevent heart disease.

Try: Eggplant Parmigiana and Polenta with Spinach & Roasted Peppers

 2. Whole Grains

Skip the sugary cereal, white bread, and white rice. These are all made from refined grains. And they’re usually high in calories, low in nutritional value, and eating too much of them may raise your risk for chronic diseases. 
 
Eating foods made with whole grains (that’s the entire grain: germ, endosperm and bran, unlike stripped-down refined grains) helps control cholesterol, and lower the risk for heart disease and stroke. Whole grains can be found in cereal, pasta, breads, and other baked goods.


Try: Whole Grain Pancake & Sausages, Sweet Potatoes & Cinnamon Apples

3. Fish

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends eating fish 2 to 3 times a week. Why? It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids found to help control cholesterol, lower triglycerides, improve blood sugar levels, and control blood pressure. Research shows eating fish a couple times a week may also help lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Try: Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach

4. Beans

“Beans, beans...the magical fruit. The more you eat, the…(healthier you’ll be).”

Beans are a rich source of fiber that helps improve digestion, control blood sugar levels, and protect your heart. 

Try: Chicken Patty & Honey Lemon Rice with Black Beans and Corn & Brussels Sprouts

5. Tomatoes

Ever bite into a ripe, juicy red tomato, or enjoy a well-made tomato sauce with pizza or pasta? Delicious. But that’s not all tomatoes have to offer. Technically a fruit, tomatoes contain lycopene, which research shows helps prevent heart disease and stroke, and reduce inflammation linked to chronic disease.

Try: Macaroni & Cheese with Stewed Tomatoes & Bean Blend

6. Garlic

Did you know garlic has been used for centuries to treat illness and promote health? Research shows that nutritional compounds in garlic may help reduce blood pressure, control cholesterol, prevent plaque build-up in arteries, and lower the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Try: Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans - Individual Meal

For more heart-healthy meals made from fresh ingredients, check out the complete Low-Sodium menu.