by The Cleveland Clinic
With the help of these nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, we’ve put together a list of the “best of the best” heart-healthy foods. The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels. You can easily bring heart-healthy foods into your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
1.Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids. Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
2.Flaxseed (ground): Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens. Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods — yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
3.Oatmeal: Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber. Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
4.Black or Kidney Beans: B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber. Give soup or salad a nutrient boost — stir in some beans.
5.Almonds; Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
6.Walnuts: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
8.Tuna: Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin. Here’s lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep “Salad Spritzer” – a light dressing — in your office fridge.
9.Tofu: Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice “firm” tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
10.Brown rice: B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber. Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
11.Soy milk; Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens. Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
12.Blueberries: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber. Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too — for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
13.Carrots; Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber. Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
14.Spinach: Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber. Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
15.Broccoli: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber. Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
16.Sweet potato: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber. Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.
17.Red bell peppers: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.
19.Oranges: Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber. Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrient-packed blends.
21.Acorn squash: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber. Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sautÃ©ed spinach, pine nuts, raisins.
22.Cantaloupe: Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners. Simply cut and enjoy!
23.Papaya: Beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein (carotenoids); Vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.
24.Dark chocolate: Reservatrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids). A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.
25.Tea: Catechins and flavonols (flavonoids). Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.