A heart-healthy diet contains plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. While no single nutrient prevents heart disease, some foods lower cholesterol naturally with soluble fiber, which prevents binds cholesterol in the digestive tract and helps block it from entering circulation, or with polyunsaturated fats, which lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Here are three foods that are easy to find, easy to make, easy on the wallet—and good for you, too:
- Oats. A bowl of oatmeal or a cold oat-based cereal offers 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or blueberries for another half-gram.
- Beans. Beans like lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, navy beans and kidney beans are rich in soluble fiber and take longer to digest, so you’ll feel full longer.
- Nuts. Eating tree nuts (like almonds, walnuts and pistachios) is good for the heart, according to several studies. Just a handful (2 ounces) of nuts a day can lower LDL. Peanuts, which come from a different food group (legumes), offer similar benefits.
What are your favorite heart-healthy dishes? Share them in the comments section.
This post was written by Robert Graham, MD, Associate Program Director and Director of Resident Research at the Department of Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital.
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