5 Must Eat Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy
While scores of studies have been done to determine which foods are the best for your heart health, doctors at last weekend's American College of Cardiology conference say there are five in particular that are especially beneficial.
For example, raisins and soy got high marks for helping to lower blood pressure, while walnuts were praised for their healthy fats and avocados for their high potassium content.
Here's the list, along with what doctors had to say about each food.
In a study, people who ate 60 raisins three times a day saw a "significant decrease in systolic blood pressure," said Dr. Harold Bays of the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, citing the high potassium levels found in the dried fruit as a possible cause.
While an eight-ounce glass of soy milk has 22 mg of soy isoflavones, research shows consuming only 2.5 milligrams of the isoflavones every day lowered blood pressure by about five points, with the effect particularly pronounced in African-Americans.
"Nuts are among the foods that have the types of fats that reduce the levels of LDL -- the 'bad' cholesterol -- and increase the levels of the good HDL cholesterol in our blood," said Dr. Philip Ragno, director of cardiovascular health and wellness at Winthrop University Hospital.
Loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, this so-called "super fruit" also has lots of vitamins, fiber and potassium.
"Fiber helps cleanse the digestive tract of potentially dangerous fats," said Dr. Ragno. Women should aim for 25 grams of daily fiber, while men should take in 38 grams. Fiber-rich foods include oats, grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.