Take heart: What’s on your plate can help maintain your cardiac capacity. “Heart-healthy foods contain nutrients that have been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system or reduce the risk of developing heart disease by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides, reducing blood pressure, controlling weight and/or improving insulin sensitivity,” says Rania Batayneh, MPH, the owner of Essential Nutrition For You and the author of The One One One Diet.
Omega-3s, potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants earn top marks in these categories, making the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet top choices for those seeking to maintain or improve heart health.
Science backs up this premise: A menu centered around produce, whole grains, nuts and beans, plus a little dairy and heart-healthy fats can help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by about a third, according to a 2016 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. So which foods get the green light from dietitians and which ones get the red light? Here are the 40 worst foods for your heart.