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Superfoods may help lower risk of disease

Topeka Capital Journal (KS)


Dear Doctor K: You have written about "superfoods" that deliver a lot of nutritional bang for their buck. Do you have a list of superfoods for heart health?

Dear Reader: Many foods -- from the everyday to the exotic -- are rich in nutrients that help keep heart disease at bay. That is good news, and it has been documented in many scientific studies.

Since heart disease is the No. 1 cause of premature death, I would call foods that reduce that risk "super." I might even call them "super-duper." Here is a list:

- Oatmeal. Oats help lower cholesterol.

- Oranges are rich in cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber; in potassium, which helps control blood pressure; and in vitamin C.

- Beans provide hearty doses of protein, fiber and minerals. They can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and keep your blood sugar from spiking.

- Spinach and kale. These dark, leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and contain omega-3 fatty acids.

- Avocados are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

- Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in LDL cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat.

- Nuts are an excellent source of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, all known to protect heart health.

- Salmon. Fatty fish, such as salmon, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

- Berries are packed full of substances that help block plaque from forming inside arteries.

- Quinoa is an excellent plant-based source of protein.

- Dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or higher) is rich in flavonols, which may help lower blood pressure.

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