Heart disease kills more than 325,000 men a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, more men die from heart disease alone than all cancers combined, making it the #1 Killer Of Men.
But you can lower your risk—and eating a heart-healthy diet is a good place to start. Load up on these five foods today and your ticker will thank you later.
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Inflammation in your artery walls can increase the risk of a heart attack, says cardiologist Adam Skolnick, M.D., of NYU Langone Medical Center. “You can counter that process by eating at least a cup of blueberries a day,” he says.
Their inflammation-battling antioxidants are the heroes here. If you can’t find fresh ones, frozen berries work. Deploy them in your breakfast cereal or yogurt.
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These purple roots unleash helpful compounds called nitrites into your blood, expanding your vessels and improving bloodflow, Dr. Skolnick says.
In a study in the journal Hypertension, these benefits helped lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in people with high BP.
Try Love Beets, which come prepeeled and precooked. Chop and toss ‘em into salads and shakes.
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Almonds, walnuts, and pecans are all good. People who ate a handful of nuts five or more times a week were 29 percent less likely to die of heart disease than those who avoided nuts, a New England Journal of Medicine study found.
Nuts contain heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Snack on unsalted raw nuts, nut mixes, and nut butters to improve your heart health.
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Salmon, sardines, herring, and canned light tuna are rich in omega-3 fats, which are shown to improve cardiac capacity during exercise.
Twice a week, eat a serving of fatty fish about the size of your smartphone, says Heather Garza, R.D., of the Stanford Preventive Cardiology clinic.
For your lunch, replace chicken salad with canned salmon or canned tuna.
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Think of beans and lentils as buckshot loaded with soluble fiber. In your gut, soluble fiber binds to cholesterol-laden bile acids and carries them out of your body, says Kate Patton, R.D., of the Cleveland Clinic.
Aim to eat 5 to 10 grams of fiber a day; a cup of legumes provides 2 to 6 grams. Use canned black beans with red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt to make a healthy salsa.
Additional reporting by Markham Heid
Food styling: Jamie Kimm