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Top 10 foods to prevent heart disease

The good news is that preventing cardiovascular disease is now easier if you include this in your diet.

The good news is that preventing cardiovascular disease, which includes both strokes and heart attacks, is now easier if you include this in your diet.

Read on to see what you should be including in your diet to keep your ticker happy for decades to come.

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1. Salmon

Salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines and mackerel are super heart-healthy foods. That's because they contain copious amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, shown in studies to lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and decrease triglycerides.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is high in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol. It acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream.

3. Berries

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According to a 2013 study women aged 25 through 42 who ate more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32% lower risk of heart attack compared with those who ate less. The authors of the study attributed the benefit to compounds known as anthocyanins, flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colours.

4. Dark chocolate

Several studies have now shown that dark chocolate may benefit your heart. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.

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5. Soy

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Soy products, including tofu and soy milk, are a good way to add protein to your diet without unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Soy products contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. What's more, soy may reduce blood pressure in people who eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates.

6. Potatoes

As long as they're not deeply fried, potatoes can be good for your heart. They're rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. and they're high in fibre, which can lower the risk for heart disease.

7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium and are a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of "bad" cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower heart attack risk. And because they're low in calories and low in sugar, they don't detract from an already-healthy diet.

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8. Nuts

This includes almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts, all of which contain good-for-your-heart fibre. They also contain vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol. And some, like walnuts, are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

9. Red wine

Red wine, or small amounts of any type of alcohol, are thought to lower heart disease risk.  While some say a polyphenol found in red wine, resveratrol, gives that beverage an added benefit, research suggests that any type of alcohol in moderation works.

10. Green vegetables

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When it comes to your health, you really can't go wrong with vegetables. But green vegetables may give an extra boost to your heart. They are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They're also high in fibre and contain tons of vitamins and minerals.

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