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10 Foods to Support Heart Health

April 9, 2024

Maintaining a healthy heart is important for overall well-being, and one of the key ways to achieve this is through a balanced diet. 

While genetics and lifestyle habits play significant roles in heart health, incorporating heart-friendly foods into your daily meals can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and promote cardiovascular wellness. Before ever making lifestyle or diet changes, be sure to talk with your doctor about what choices are right for you. Let’s examine 10 nutrient-rich foods that can support a healthy heart.

Grains, Nuts, and Oils That Support Cardiovascular Health

Whole Grains

Whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley are excellent sources of fiber, which plays a crucial role in heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and promoting healthy digestion. Additionally, whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall cardiovascular wellness. Swap refined grains for whole grains in your diet to optimize heart health. These grains have also been shown to balance cravings during certain phases of the menstrual cycle, which you can read more about here.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Incorporating a handful of nuts or seeds into your daily routine can help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve blood vessel function. Enjoy them as a snack, sprinkle them on salads or yogurt, or use them as a crunchy topping for oatmeal.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is known for its cardiovascular benefits. Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil has been shown to improve cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of heart disease. Use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, marinades, or sautéing vegetables to add heart-healthy fats to your meals.

Heart-Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, kale, and cabbage are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, like vitamin K, magnesium, and folate. These nutrients help regulate blood pressure, improve arterial function, and lower the risk of heart disease. Broccoli and carrots are also great for heart health. 


Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. They also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support heart health and help manage cholesterol levels. Enjoy a handful of berries as a snack or add them to yogurt, oatmeal, or salads for added flavor and nutrition.


Avocados are a nutrient-dense fruit loaded with monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with improved heart health. They also contain potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, and fiber, which supports healthy digestion and cholesterol management. Add sliced avocado to sandwiches, salads, or wraps.


Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives them their vibrant red color. Lycopene has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease by helping lower LDL cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation. Enjoy tomatoes fresh in salads, sandwiches, or salsas, or cook them into sauces, soups, or stews.

Proteins, Beans, and Legumes for a Healthier Heart

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. These essential fats have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides, and decrease the risk of arrhythmias. Aim for at least two servings of fatty fish per week to maximize the cardiovascular benefits.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Eating beans and legumes regularly can help lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Incorporate them into soups, stews, salads, or veggie burgers for a heart-healthy meal.

Sweet Treats for Heart Health

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate can be part of a heart-healthy diet when consumed in moderation. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is rich in flavonoids that can potentially help with heart health. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content and enjoy a small piece as an occasional treat.

The foods we explored above are a great starting point for building a healthy diet that aids in heart health, but eating these foods isn’t the full answer to minimizing your risk for cardiovascular disease. Be sure to portion in moderation, fit plenty of exercises and walking into your routine, and consult your doctor about how you can stay on top of your heart-healthy game before making any substantial changes.

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