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5 Superfoods for a Healthy Heart

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5 Heart-Healthy Foods

Build these five heart-healthy foods into your daily diet for great taste - and better health.
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nothing matters more than taking good care of your heart. Getting regular exercise, not smoking, and controlling stress are just a few things health experts recommend, along with eating a variety of nutritious, heart-healthy foods that make up a healthy diet.

Where to start? Add these five "super-foods" to boost nutritional goodness while eating your way to a healthier heart.

Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most powerful disease-fighting foods. That's because they contain anthocyanins, the antioxidant responsible for their dark blue color. These delicious jewels are packed with fiber, vitamin C, and are available all year long. Boost heart health by adding them into your diet regularly. Here's how:

1. Top your whole-grain cereal with fresh or frozen blueberries to add delicious flavor, a dose of fiber, and heart-healthy antioxidants.
2. Power up pancakes, waffles, or muffins with fresh, frozen, or dried blueberries for a nutritious breakfast.
3. Eat them plain or mix with other fruit for a low-calorie, high-fiber tasty fruit salad, dessert, or snack.

Recipe idea: Make an irresistible trifle by layering lady fingers, light whipped topping or low-fat pudding, and blueberries. Or puree a batch of berries for a breakfast or dessert sauce.

Salmon

This cold-water fish is a great source of protein and is also packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other omega-3 rich foods twice a week for benefits that go beyond heart health. Americans love salmon because it is so versatile, easy to cook, and tastes great.

1. Salmon is easy to prepare on the grill, in the oven or microwave, or on the stovetop. Save leftovers to toss into pasta dishes, make into salmon cakes, add to salads, or mix into dips or spreads.
2. Smoked salmon comes in two varieties. The raw type is commonly used in appetizers and on bagels with cream cheese and capers. The dry smoked type has more of a cooked appearance. You can enjoy it the same way as the raw style, and add it to cooked dishes such as pasta.
3. Salmon cooks in a matter of minutes and its delicate texture quickly absorbs and showcases the flavor of added ingredients. For example, toss chunks of salmon into a chowder of corn and potatoes, or wrap salmon with herbs and chopped onion and tomatoes in parchment or aluminum foil and grill or bake 12 minutes for a satisfying meal.

Recipe idea: Marinate salmon in a lime, onion, garlic, and soy mixture for 15 minutes before grilling for a delicious fish taco or grilled fish sandwich.

Soy Protein

This inexpensive, high-quality protein contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals -- all the ingredients for a heart-healthy meal. Also, a diet rich in soy protein can lower triglycerides, which help prevent cardiovascular disease and keep your heart strong and healthy. In those with high cholesterol levels,the benefits of soy foods are due to their high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

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