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How to Eat for a Healthy Heart

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    Blueberries

    Antioxidants in these berries help fight inflammation and lower bad LDL cholesterol, blood fats, and blood sugar.

     
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    Olive and Canola Oil

    High in heart-smart monounsaturated fats; lower in saturated fat than other oils.

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    Cinnamon

    Mix 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons honey with 2 tablespoons peanut butter. Spread on sliced apples or pears.

     
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    Oatmeal

    A great source of soluble fiber and full of heart-friendly B vitamins.

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    Peppermint

    Puree 2 tablespoons fresh mint with 1/2 cup yogurt or ricotta cheese. Serve with berries.

     
  • Nuts

    Packed with heart helpers, like omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, potassium, and vitamin E.

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    Salmon

    Omega-3s help reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol and make blood flow smoothly, lessening the chance of clotting.

     
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    Ginger

    Toss 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger with 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, and 1/2 cup 100 percent pineapple juice for a zesty marinade.

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    Crushed Red Pepper

    Dust 1/8 teaspoon on hummus for a kick, or saute 1/4 teaspoon with 1/2 cup light coconut milk for a shrimp-and-broccoli stir-fry.

     
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    Red Wine and Grape Juice

    Contain high levels of antioxidants that help protect the vascular system.

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    Sage

    Dip a whole-grain roll in olive oil instead of butter, with a sprinkle of sage and black pepper.

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    Spinach

    B vitamins and antioxidants fight heart disease; magnesium can help lower blood pressure.

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    Curry

    Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon on cooked cauliflower, or add to chicken salad.

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    Flaxseeds

    Rich in ALA, a fatty acid that may help regulate blood pressure, blood fat, and inflammation.

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    Legumes

    Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol and can help improve insulin resistance.

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    Soy

    Replace meat in your meal with soy-based foods, such as tofu, to help lower cholesterol.

    Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2008.

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