5 Foods to Boost Your Heart Health

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Keeping your heart healthy has numerous benefits, including a reduced risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack and even dementia.

Eating healthy foods is one big step you can take to protect your heart, but most folks wait too long to change what they eat.

Let’s take a look at five of the best foods for heart health from these categories, and how to easily add them to your diet.

1. Olive oil

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Olive oil contains the highest percentage of monounsaturated fat, which is great for your heart, according to the AHA. It helps lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol. You’ll want to keep portions between 1 to 3 tablespoons a day, as olive oil is high in fat.

2. Quinoa

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Quinoa is a fiber-rich, gluten-free grain from South America that contains antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Antioxidants and amino acids help protect and repair cells and reduce the risk of disease. Plus, fiber may lower cholesterol and blood pressure, states Harvard Health.

3. Black beans

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Black beans are high in fiber, which helps your body maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of heart disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are also nutritionally dense and high in protein, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as a "superfood." The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends eating about 1 to 3 cups of beans per week. Lower salt varieties can be especially beneficial for heart health.

4. Walnuts

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Walnuts contain an abundance of alpha-linolenic acid, which is converted into certain types of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, according to Harvard Health. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect your heart health in a number of ways, including lowering triglyceride fats in your body.

5. Salmon

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Salmon not only contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but this pink fish also has plenty of vitamin B6, which helps keep an amino acid called homocysteine in balance for optimal heart health.

Salmon is also low in saturated fat, and the AHA recommends eating two (3-ounce) servings per week to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

6. Source and more information

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