9 Heart Healthy Foods That Your Ticker Will Thank You for ...

If you're looking for some heart healthy foods that your ticker will thank you for, then this list of foods is perfect for you. I love my heart and I have some much to thank it for, like keeping me alive for one. Having a history of heart disease in the family means I'm doing everything in my power to ensure that I keep my heart happy and healthy. Not wanting to be accused of a scaremongering, but more women than men die of heart disease each year. So in the interests of a happy heart and longer life, here are some heart healthy foods that will help keep your ticker ticking along nicely!

1. Cranberries

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Cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving! They're a wonderful fruit, and one of the wonderful heart healthy foods which contain an array of antioxidants that help prevent the thickening of the blood vessel wall and the blocking of blood vessels. Enjoy a delicious and refreshing glass of cranberry juice a day, but opt for the no added sugar variety.

2. Prunes

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Prunes are another antioxidant rich food which can protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Chop some prunes and add them to your morning oatmeal or Greek yoghurt. Alternatively, enjoy three or four prunes when the Cookie Monster comes a callin' mid morning or mid afternoon.

3. Sunflower Seeds

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A great source of vitamin E, sunflower seeds are a wonderful and healthy afternoon snack as well as being a super salad sprucer upper. Again, don't be fooled by their diminutive stature, as all good things come in small packages. These tiny morsels help protect the body against free radicals, which are the cells that can cause heart disease.

4. Blueberries

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I love blueberries, they're my favorite berry. I add them to smoothies, oatmeal and fruit salads. They're full of powerful antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C, and help fight free radicals.

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Fabulous figs are another one of my favorite fruits. They're full of minerals such as potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and full of fiber, which can help weight control. They're another great fruit to add to oatmeal or low fat Greek yoghurt.

6. Almonds

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Almonds contain the healthy 'mono-unsaturated' fat, which helps lower the levels of bad cholesterol that can cause heart disease. To get the maximum benefits from your almonds and make them more digestible, soak them in water and enjoy a small handful a day.

7. Pumpkin Seeds

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Pumpkin seeds pack an almighty punch when it comes to nutrients, and they're another innocent looking morsel that can protect the body against so much damage. They're full of magnesium, which has a key role in regulating the pumping of the heart and the relaxation of blood vessels.

8. Walnuts

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These brain shaped morsels are full of omega 3 fatty acids, and a major study has shown that those who eat a handful of nuts a day cut their risk of death by heart disease by around a third. Like we needed an excuse to go nuts!

9. Pistachios

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Pistachios require a little more labour intensity and my theory is that because of this, I'm likely to eat less. But laziness aside, pistachios really are a wonder nut. They decrease bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. They also help prevent high blood pressure.

As well as incorporating the above into your diet, there are other things that will reduce your risk, such as avoiding smoking, exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day three to four times a week, maintaining a healthy weight and of course eating a diet that's low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt. Is anyone else a fan of the above foods?

Sources: webmd.com, mayoclinic.org

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