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Foods That Save Your Heart

A heart-healthy diet may sound bland and boring, but it's anything but with plenty of delicious foods that benefit your heart - and the rest of your body. If you need to eat less salt for hypertension, then fresh herbs make a savory substitute. Adding herbal-icious flavors to your food tends to decrease the need for added salt and even fat, which benefits arteries and reduces your risk of obesity.

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Many herbs are also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, as is red wine. Resveratrol and catechins protect artery walls, and alcohol can help boost HDL, or good cholesterol levels. Soy snacks like tofu and edamame are packed with protein and fiber, plus they lower blood triglyceride levels. Choose high-potassium foods like oranges and bananas to help control blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. Think orange if you're trying to control blood sugar - as in sweet potatoes and carrots. Both fight cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes. Season them with cinnamon to give diabetes a one-two punch.
Omega-3s help reduce inflammation and replace heart-unhealthy saturated fats. Good sources include extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts, flaxseed, salmon and tuna. Go green with dark green, leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, which are high in minerals, fiber and antioxidants, all of which control blood pressure.{relatedarticles} Swiss chard makes a great bed for that omega-3-rich fish when wilted and seasoned with garlic, herbs or pepper. Spread on some sterols to block LDL cholesterol absorption. You can find sterol-fortified margarines, orange juice and soy milk.