Vitamin E in almonds work together to cut cholesterol. Almonds are also a great source of vegetable protein and fiber.
Eating Tip: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of almonds over low-fat unsweetened yogurt and berries for an energizing morning meal.
Avocados, a great source of heart health. Contain more of the cholesterol smashing beta-sitosteral than any other fruit.
Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Chocolate or more specifically, cocoa powder made from ground, defatted cocoa beans, contains compounds that have the potential to protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
Eating Tip:Melt 1/4 cup of dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Drizzle over fresh strawberries for belly flattening dessert.
Flaxseed oil is the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and helps reduce systemic inflammation, which researchers believe may lead to heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating Tip: Stir 1 tbsp into a smoothie as a healthy afternoon snack.
Adding nuts and seed to your diet can yield heart health benefits. Macadamia nuts also contain fiber that help with digestion.
Eating Tip: Crush 2 tbsp macadamia nuts. Dip one 3 ounce portion of chicken breast or 4 ounce piece of fish in low fat milk, then press nuts to adhere. Bake at 350 F for 10-20 minutes on until done.
Natural Peanut Butter
A serving of peanut butter contains the antioxidants vitamin E, bone building magnesium, muscle friendly potassium, and immunity boosting vitamin B6.
Eating Tip: Toss a half cut of whole grain noodles with 3 oz cooked shrimp, minced scallions and 1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper. Dress with a mixture of tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp warm water and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
Olive oil is the best all around for cooking and salads because it contains mostly MUFA, which lowers bad LDL cholesterol without affecting good HDL cholesterol. The greener the oil, the more antioxidants, so go for extra-virgin.
Eating Tip: Basil pesto and sundried tomato paste are also good sources of olive oil.
Pistachios contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that help protect against age related macular degeneration.
Eating Tip: Stir 2 tbsp toasted pistachios into 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese with 2 tsp honey and 2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips for a sweet snack.
Like seafood and flaxseed, walnut contain omega 3 fatty acids, which help protect your heart and preserve brain health.
Eating Tip: Snack: Mix 1/2 cup canned pineapple into 1/2 cup cottage cheese. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of walnuts for only 35 calories.
Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin B, which play an important role in protecting against inflammation and they are an excellent source of vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are also great for curbing hunger.
Eating Tip: Sprinkle 2 tbsp of toasted sunflower seeds in your salad.