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Heart Healthy Foods

February 16, 2015
4 min. read

The last few weeks, we’ve been sharing information about heart disease and tips for heart attack prevention. It’s important to focus on the factors that are in your control and do as much as you can to limit your risk.

Maintaining healthy eating habits is a great way to help reduce your risk for heart disease. There is such a variety of heart-healthy foods that make this a relatively easy option for everyone.

Here are some tips for “heart-healthy” eating:

Try to do the following:

  • Limit your salt intake
  • Instead of frying foods, bake, broil, or sauté
  • Choose mostly fresh foods instead of canned
  • If eating canned foods, find ones packed in water instead of oils
  • Consume low-fat dairy products
  • Try eating egg whites
  • Increase your fiber intake with fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains


Look for the following nutrients:

  • Phytoestrogens: substances in plants that may lower the risk of blood clots, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, and even blood pressure.
  • Phytosterols: plant sterols that seem to reduce blood cholesterol.
  • Carotenoids: heart-protective antioxidants found in many colorful fruits and veggies.
  • Polyphenols (both flavonoid and non-flavonoid): antioxidants that protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon) and alpha-linolenic fatty acids (found in plant foods like walnuts): help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, increase good HDL levels, and lower blood pressure, among many other things.
  • B vitamins: protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and help increase HDL “good” cholesterol.
  • Vitamins C and E: antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.
  • Magnesium, potassium, and calcium: help lower blood pressure.
  • Fiber: helps lower cholesterol levels.


Try some of these heart-healthy foods:

  • Whole grains: contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, and fiber
  • Beans: contain fiber and flavonoids
  • Fish like salmon and tuna: contain omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Oatmeal: contains omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts: contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, healthy fats, and phytosterols.
  • Fruit like bananas, apples, tomatoes, oranges, and berries: contain carotenoids like alpha- and beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
  • Vegetables like spinach, red bell peppers, asparagus, and broccoli: contain carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
  • Squash and sweet potatoes: contain carotenoids, vitamins/minerals, and fiber.
  • Dark chocolate: contains flavonoids.
  • Tea: contains flavonoids and antioxidants.


Try some of these meal ideas:

Waldorf-Style Tuna Salad on Toast



  • 2 Slices Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread, toasted
  • 2 (4 oz.) Cans “Chunk Light” Tuna1, packed in water
  • 1/3 cup Raisins
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 2-4 Tbsp Greek Yogurt (or combination of yogurt and light mayonnaise)
  • 1/2 Cup Celery
  • Parsley
  • 1 Apple, cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

(serves 2-4 people)

Check out the recipe here:


Italian Tuna Salad on Toast

italian tuna salad


  • 2 Slices Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread, toasted
  • 2 (4 oz.) Cans “Chunk Light” Tuna, packed in water
  • 2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Red Onion, sliced
  • White Beans (garbanzo or cannellini)
  • Parsley
  • 1 Stalk Celery, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tsp Capers or Olives
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 Tbsp Basil, freshly chopped

(serves 2-4 people)

Check out the recipe here:


Nut Butter and Fresh Fruit on Toast

Fruit and Nut Butter Toast


  • 1 Slice Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread, toasted
  • Nut Butter of Choice (such as almond, cashew, walnut, or peanut): look for all-natural with no added sugars or salt
  • Favorite Fruit (such as bananas, blueberries, or apples)

(serves: 1)

Check out the recipe here:



1. According to the FDA, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid certain types of fish that are high in mercury. They are recommending eating “up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury” such as light tuna (over albacore).


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