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14 heart healthy foods for your family

Avocado is good for the heart!
Avocado is good for the heart!
AP Photo/Larry Crowe

Valentine's Day is not the only reason to celebrate the heart in the month of February.  This month also marks American Heart Month by the American Heart Association to raise awareness about heart disease.

In honor of American Heart Month and Valentine's Day on February 14, here are a list of 14 "heart healthy" superfoods and easy ways to incorporate them into your own family meals.


  •  oatmeal - contains Omega-3 fatty acids (an unsaturated fatty acid that protects the heart and blood vessels) . Warm up a bowl for breakfast and top with berries, nuts, and skim milk. Who doesn't like a bowl of hot oatmeal on a cold winter day?

  • flaxseed - another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Stir into oatmeal or other cereal. Has a subtle nutty flavor.

  • berries - have an anti-inflammatory effect which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Cut up fresh berries into a fruit salad or stir into yogurt for a snack.

  •  avocado - packed full of heart healthy fats. Slice one into a salad or on a sandwich. Or make your own homemade guacamole!

  • olive oil - another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Use in place of other less heart-healthy oils in cooking and pan frying.

  •   black beans - legumes are full of the B complex vitamins which is shown to help stave off heart disease. Try making a vegetarian multi-bean chili and top with avocado for a double heart healthy punch!

  •   tomatoes -  rich in alpha and beta-carotene. Marinara sauce over whole wheat pasta or fresh salsa on a baked potato are excellent ways to enjoy tomatoes.

  • spinach - contains lutein which is shown to slow the clogging of arteries. Use spinach in place of regular lettuce in a tossed salad. Try stirring a little steamed spinach into pasta sauces.

  •   almonds - a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Toss a few on top of cereal or eat them plain as an afternoon snack.

  • salmon -another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is great broiled with lemon pepper or your favorite marinade. It also makes a great addition to a salad or pasta dish.

  •   red bell peppers - pack both lutein and beta-carotene. Cut up fresh red peppers into a stirfry (made with olive oil!)

  •   oranges - another great source of alpha and beta-carotene. Oranges are in season during the winter so now is the time to enjoy great citrus for a snack. If your family does not like eating oranges, many orange juices are now fortified with heart healthy nutrients.

  • brown rice - full of the B-complex vitamins. Brown rice can be substituted into any dish in which you normally would use white rice.

  • sweet potatoes- chock full of beta-carotene. Try these baked for lunch with a bit of heart-healthy butter spread (like Smart Balance) and topped with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

Remember, it is never too early to gain benefits from eating healthy foods.


  • Sakina- Islamic Issues Examiner 5 years ago

    This was a helpful article, thank you for sharing!

  • lil runner 5 years ago

    That avocado looks so good and makes me want guac!

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