Cardiac crunch

7 foods scientifically proven to boost heart health

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We know the best ways to keep your heart healthy are to eat well and exercise.

But when it comes to nutrition, which foods give your central organ the biggest boost?

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Foods rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and certain vitamins and minerals can protect your heart for years to come.

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If you’re looking for some new heart-healthy — and tasty — options to add to your diet, here’s what research recommends.

These are 7 foods scientifically proven to boost heart health:

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7. Fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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Two servings of fish per week are recommended by the American Heart Association.

However, be wary of the types of fish you’re consuming: Some can be high in mercury.

6. Oats

These small, plain grains are an excellent source of fiber.

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Fiber is found in a number of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. It can lower cholesterol, which in turn lessens your risk of cardiac events.

5. Nuts

Research suggests eating a quarter cup of nuts four times per week can reduce cardiovascular disease by 24 percent.

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Whole nuts and natural nut butter are rich in good fats, fiber, and antioxidants that help protect the heart.

And it’s certainly a plus that they’re incredibly versatile and easy to add to recipes.

4. Quinoa

This grain isn’t considered a superfood for no reason. Like nuts, it also contains high amounts of fiber and healthy fats.

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Quinoa is also an excellent source of plant-based protein, which offers an alternative to animal-based proteins. Animal-based proteins are sometimes linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

3. Sweet potatoes

These root vegetables, which come in a variety of shades, have high levels of antioxidants, beta-carotene, and a number of other vitamins and minerals.

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Those compounds are associated with anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and cardioprotective effects that’ll give your heart a boost.

2. Cinnamon

Though it might seem like an unassuming spice, cinnamon has been shown to help lower cholesterol.

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Tumeric has also been shown to have this effect. Overall, research suggests that adding more spices and herbs to your food might help lower blood pressure over time.

1. Leafy Greens

Who could forget the many health benefits of green vegetables, like kale, spinach, and broccoli?

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Folate, a B vitamin found in leafy greens, is known to help prevent heart disease.

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That’s just the tip of the iceberg for these superfoods, which host a whole slew of vitamins and minerals.

And adding them into a dish with nuts, grains, or lean meats can make for a tasty — and protective — meal that’s sure to give your heart a boost.

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