With the help of nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, we've put together a list of the "best of the best" heart-healthy foods.
The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels. We've also got menu ideas -- so you can easily bring heart-healthy foods into your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids.
Recipe Idea: Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for pasta or salad later on.
2. Flaxseed (ground)
Nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, phytoestrogens.
Recipe Idea: Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods -- yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
Nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, folate, niacin, calcium, soluble fiber.
Recipe Idea: Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
4. Black or Kidney Beans
Nutrients: B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, soluble fiber.
Recipe Idea: Give soups or salads a nutrient boost -- stir in some beans.
Nutrients: Plant omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats, phytosterols.
Recipe Idea: Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
Nutrients: Plant omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, fiber, heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats, phytosterols.
Recipe Idea: Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
7. Red Wine
Nutrients: Catechins and resveratrol (flavonoids).
Recipe Idea: Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve "good" HDL cholesterol.
Nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acid, folate, niacin.
Recipe Idea: Here's lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep "Salad Spritzer" - a light dressing -- in your office fridge.
Nutrients: Niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium.
Recipe Idea: Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice "firm" tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
10. Brown Rice
Nutrients: B-complex vitamins, fiber, niacin, magnesium, fiber.
Recipe Idea: Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
11. Soy Milk
Nutrients: Isoflavones (a flavonoid), B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phytoestrogens.
Recipe Idea: Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
Nutrients: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids), anthocyanin (a flavonoid), ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber.
Recipe Idea: Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are nutrient-rich too -- for trail mixes, muffins, and salads!
Nutrients: Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid), fiber.
Recipe Idea: Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak chopped or shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.