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Five foods for a healthy heart

Riddle Hospital September 9, 2014 Wellness Articles

The key to a healthy heart could be what's on your plate. Lynn Nichols, dietitian with the Diabetes Management Program at Riddle Hospital, Main Line Health, lists five foods you should be eating for a healthier heart.


Salmon is a healthy source of energy. It contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as zinc, which is an energy enhancing mineral. It is also loaded with protein and is fairly low in calories. You can serve it grilled with a delicious marinade or rub. Save any leftovers to chop up and add to a salad for lunch the next day. Try our recipe: grilled salmon steaks.


Flaxseed has three main health benefits: a high content of an essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, large amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, and it is very high in lignans. A 3½ ounce serving provides 21 grams of protein. Ground flaxseed can be mixed in with muffins. cereal, yogurt, cookies, etc. Give flaxseed a try in our recipe for dark chocolate chip oat bars.


Plain oatmeal is a great complex carbohydrate. It will help to sustain a person’s blood sugar and it will keep your stomach feeling fuller, longer. Oatmeal is also high in the B vitamins which will help increase your energy levels. It also is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, folate, niacin, and calcium. Need a little flavor? Try our recipe for pumpkin pie oatmeal.


Almonds are considered by many to be one of the best high energy foods around. They are high in monounsaturated fats which help our brains to function and they will help lower your bad LDL levels and raise the good HDL levels of cholesterol in our blood. In addition they are high in fiber, calcium and 24 almonds provide only 160 calories and 6 grams of protein. To keep your salad crunchy without the added calories of croutons, give almonds a try, instead.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate that is at least 75 to 80 percent cocoa is rich in soluble fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and copper. The flavonoids in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure. Dark Chocolate consumed two to three times a week in small 1 ounce quantities may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in some individuals. Next time you've got a chocolate craving, fit in two heart-healthy foods with our recipe for dark chocolate almond clusters.