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Your Health
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25 Heart-Healthy Foods That Can Change Your Life, and May Even Prolong It

Regular exercise and a diet full of cholesterol-fighting foods can help keep cardiovascular disease at bay

Sockeye salmon is a good source for selenium and Vitamin B3. Click to view larger
Sockeye salmon is a good source for selenium and Vitamin B3. (HealthGrove photo via Pixabay)

As lifespans increase, proactively keeping your heart healthy becomes a bigger priority.

According to Medical News Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Data from the Health Indicators Warehouse shows a consistent decline in heart disease deaths from 2008 to 2012, but 2013 saw a slight increase.

Cardiovascular diseases are often caused by high cholesterol, which contributes to the buildup of plaque on the walls of blood vessels. However, exercising regularly and eating a diet full of cholesterol-fighting foods can help keep heart diseases at bay.

Using data from the ESHA nutritional database, the analysts at Summerland-based HealthGrove found the top 25 most heart-healthy foods by ranking them on their Heart Healthy Index scores.

This index looks at the ratio of “good” nutrients (those that treat high cholesterol) to “bad” nutrients (those that contribute to poor heart health).

To calculate the index score for each food, HealthGrove divided the percent daily values of selenium, vitamin B3, magnesium and calcium (“good” nutrients) by the percent daily value of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol (“bad” nutrients). Foods with scores closest to 100 are the most heart-healthy.

Although you’ll recognize many foods on this list, some might surprise you.

#25 - Sockeye Salmon

 

Heart Healthy Index: 75.5
Calories: 95
Serving Size: 2.0 ounces

Good Source of:

 

#24 - Pacific Halibut

 

Heart Healthy Index: 75.9
Calories: 94
Serving Size: 3.0 ounces

Good Source of:

  • Selenium: 79.1% DV
  • Vitamin B3: 39.6% DV

 

#23 - Quinoa

 

Heart Healthy Index: 76.3
Calories: 156
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Good Source of:

  • Selenium: 12.1% DV

 

#22 - Soybeans

 

Heart Healthy Index: 76.6
Calories: 207
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Good Source of:

  • Magnesium: 70% DV

 

#21 - Sunflower Seeds

 

Heart Healthy Index: 76.7
Calories: 204
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Good Source of:

  • Magnesium: 81.3% DV
  • Selenium: 75.7% DV

 

#20 - Atlantic Cod

 

Heart Healthy Index: 77.5
Calories: 247
Serving Size: 3.0 ounces

Good Source of:

  • Selenium: 211.1% DV
  • Vitamin B3: 37.5% DV

 

#19 - Sesame Seeds

 

Heart Healthy Index: 77.7
Calories: 206
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Good Source of:

  • Calcium: 97.5% DV
  • Magnesium: 87.8% DV

 

#18 - Blue Mussels

 

Heart Healthy Index: 77.8
Calories: 146
Serving Size: 3.0 ounces

Good Source of:

  • Selenium: 128% DV
  • Vitamin B3: 15% DV

 

#17 - Liverwurst

 

Heart Healthy Index: 78.5
Calories: 42
Serving Size: 1.0 tablespoon

Good Source of:

  • Selenium: 82.9% DV
  • Vitamin B3: 21.5% DV

 

#16 - Brown Rice

 

Heart Healthy Index: 78.8
Calories: 171
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Good Source of:

  • Magnesium: 35.8% DV
  • Selenium: 33.4% DV

 

#15 - Sundried Tomatoes

 

Heart Healthy Index: 80.2
Calories: 52
Serving Size: 10.0 piece

Good Source of:

  • Magnesium: 48.5% DV
  • Vitamin B3: 45.3% DV

 

#14 - Swiss Cheese

 

Heart Healthy Index: 81
Calories: 27
Serving Size: 1.0 slice

Good Source of:

  • Calcium: 96.1% DV
  • Selenium: 18.1% DV

 

#13 - Cinnamon

 

Heart Healthy Index: 81.2
Calories: 6
Serving Size: 1.0 teaspoon

Good Source of:

  • Calcium: 100.2% DV
  • Magnesium: 15% DV

 

#12 - Chia Seeds

 

Heart Healthy Index: 81.3
Calories: 204
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Good Source of:

  • Magnesium: 83.8% DV
  • Selenium: 78.9% DV

 

#11 - European Anchovies

 

Heart Healthy Index: 82.5
Calories: 95
Serving Size: 1.0 can

Good Source of:

  • Vitamin B3: 99.5% DV
  • Selenium: 97.3% DV

 

#10 - Shiitake Mushrooms

 

Heart Healthy Index: 83.9
Calories: 44
Serving Size: 4.0 each

Good Source of:

  • Vitamin B3: 70.5
  • Selenium: 65.9% DV​

    #9 - Semolina Flour

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 84
    Calories: 150
    Serving Size: 0.25 cup

    Good Source of:

    • Selenium: 127.7% DV
    • Vitamin B3: 30% DV

     

    #8 - Parmesan Cheese

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 84.1
    Calories: 21
    Serving Size: 1.0 tablespoon

    Good Source of:

    • Calcium: 125.3% DV
    • Selenium: 34.1% DV

     

    #7 - Linseeds

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 84.2
    Calories: 37
    Serving Size: 1.0 tablespoon

    Good Source of:

    • Magnesium: 98% DV
    • Selenium: 36.3% DV

     

    #6 - Yellowfin Tuna

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 84.3
    Calories: 111
    Serving Size: 3.0 ounces

    Good Source of:

    • Selenium: 154.6% DV
    • Vitamin B3: 110.4% DV

     

    #5 - Ginger

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 85.1
    Calories: 6
    Serving Size: 1.0 teaspoon

    Good Source of:

    • Selenium: 79.7% DV
    • Magnesium: 53.5% DV

     

    #4 - Egg Whites

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 85.8
    Calories: 26
    Serving Size: 1.0 tablespoon

    Good Source of:

    • Selenium: 178.7% DV
    • Magnesium: 18% DV

     

    #3 - Poppy Seeds

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 87.6
    Calories: 15
    Serving Size: 1.0 teaspoon

    Good Source of:

    • Calcium: 143.8% DV
    • Magnesium: 86.8% DV

     

    #2 - Agar Seaweed

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 88
    Calories: 43
    Serving Size: 0.5 ounces

    Good Source of:

    • Magnesium: 192.5% DV
    • Calcium: 62.5% DV

     

    #1 - Tofu

     

    Heart Healthy Index: 88.7
    Calories: 80
    Serving Size: 1.0 piece

    Good Source of:

    • Calcium: 213.4% DV
    • Selenium: 77.6% DV

     

    Click here for more research nutrition facts on HealthGrove.

— Sabrina Perry is an associate editor at Graphiq, a Summerland data analysis and visualization startup. This article is based on data curated by HealthGrove, a division of Graphiq.

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