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Heart healthy foods
It is a known fact that a healthy lifestyle combined with appropriate diet can prevent the risk of heart disease.

Here are some food tips to protect your heart.

1. Protein

No food group offers more protection from the heart attacks than protein. Lean beef, eggs, and pork are packed with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that discourage blood clotting. Skinless chicken and turkey are low in artery-clogging saturated fat, and their protein keeps food cravings at bay.

Beans like chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans are not only rich in high-quality proteins but are also one of nature's richest sources of soluble fiber, which whisks cholesterol out of your body and helps maintain blood sugar levels.

2. Good fats

That's why nuts, olive oil, and heart-healthy canola oil are rich in monounsaturated fats that lower LDLs, slightly increase HDLs, and reduce triglycerides. Just watch your portions as oils, nuts, and nut butters are calorie dense.

Beyond peanuts and walnuts, try pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts. They can be eaten as is or added to cereals and other main course dishes too.

3. Fruit and Vegetables

Most of us today forget the fact that nature's bounty was meant to keep us fit. More thought needs to be paid to the number of fruit and vegetable servings we consume everyday.

We must learn to gather at least five servings a day at home and at work. Make juice breaks an essential part of the day.

Aubergines supply some of the heart-protective nutrient vitamin E and, like other vegetables, are a useful sourse of potassium which helps keep blood pressure normal

Blackcurrants are one of the richest sources of vitamin C vital to protect against heart disease.

Garlic is said to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing total blood cholesterol.

A daily glass of pomegranate juice slows down the damage caused by cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. It also reduces blood pressure and more than doubles the levels of health-boosting antioxidants in the blood.

soya beans provide protein, antioxidants ,vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants protect our hearts by preventing bad, LDL cholesterol from damaging artery walls.

4. Whole Grains

Switching completely from refined to whole grains will slash risk factors by 30 percent. Whole grains are filled with vitamin E and insoluble fiber to help digestion. Some, such as barley and oatmeal, also have cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber.

Think fiber in the morning. Each gram of soluble fiber contained in oats and cereals plays a vital role in cutting your LDLs.

More on heart health

Choose breads with "whole wheat" leading to increased intake of fibre.

5. Dairy Foods

A glass of milk in the morning or with your cereal, cup of yogurt as a mid-afternoon snack, and occasional feasting on low-fat cheese boosts your intake of calcium, a mineral vital for healthy blood pressure. Dairy's calcium and protein work with the magnesium, potassium, and fiber in fruits, veggies, and whole grains to better regulate blood pressure.

Switch to low-fat or fat-free milk in cereal and soups, where the flavor difference is less noticeable, and use low-fat in coffee and hot cocoa.

A cup of yogurt topped with chopped fruit and a tablespoon of nuts makes a filling snack.

Use milk instead of water when cooking oatmeal or soups that can be served creamed.

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