Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal and some orange wedges. Enjoy a hearty bowl of bean soup for lunch. Grab a handful of peanuts for a midafternoon snack. For dinner, tuck into some grilled salmon and spinach salad drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.
Super Foods But if you want to splurge on some slightly more exotic selections, try quinoa, kale, avocados, berries, and dark chocolate. Here’s why all of these foods rank high on the heart-health scale.
Peanuts (which are legumes) and tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, and pistachios) are excellent sources of fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, all known to protect heart health. Eating nuts lowers harmful LDL cholesterol, raises protective HDL cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure.
Eating fish at least twice per week can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. But fatty fish such as salmon may be the healthiest because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and other berries are all bursting with plant-derived chemicals known as polyphenols. These may help protect the heart by neutralizing oxidized LDL, which forms plaque inside the arteries.
Native to South America, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is unique among plant-based foods because of its high protein content, says Dr. Hu. It’s also a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa is rich in flavanols, which may help lower blood pressure. But beware: just 2 ounces of dark chocolate deliver about 300 calories, so enjoy this sweet treat in moderation.