Five heart healthy foods to include in your diet

Eat these five foods to help lower the risk of heart disease.

Health experts consider cholesterol levels and other health factors to determine if someone is at risk of developing heart disease. Medical professionals recommend that people aim to have a blood cholesterol level less than 200 mg/dl. There are two types of cholesterol; HDL which is the good cholesterol and the LDL which is the bad cholesterol. Michigan State University Extension recommends that people strive to keep their cholesterol levels within a range that is heart healthy. The following five foods are considered heart healthy.

  1. Oatmeal is a good source of beta glucan which can lower blood sugar and take cholesterol out of the body. Nutrition experts recommend that you have 1 ½ cups of oatmeal as part of a low saturated fat and cholesterol diet to get this health benefit.
  2. Soy protein has been shown to reduce the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) but can depend on the cholesterol level of an individual.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a health claim for food labels stating that eating 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. Spinach contains both lutein and zeaxanthin which are forms of antioxidants. They boost your HDL “good” cholesterol, the higher your HDL level is the better.
  4. Salmon is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been shown to help lower triglyceride levels, reduce the risk of blood clots, reduce the overall risk for heart attacks, and lower blood pressure levels.
  5. Walnuts are a good source of polyunsaturated fat and omega 3. This fat has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the production of LDL cholesterol in the body. The lower your LDL level is the better.

Selecting and eating heart healthy foods can help decrease the risk of developing high cholesterol and triglycerides plus lower your blood sugar which is good for your heart.  

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