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Power Foods

Power Foods That Fight Heart Disease

What you eat has a powerful impact on your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. "Power Foods" are foods packed with high levels of heart disease-fighting nutrients and the fewest number of calories. Including the following  Power Foods in your diet can help you reduce your risk of heart disease.

Power Food Nutrients Supplied
*What's a carotenoid? A carotenoid is a type of phytochemical that has a strong antioxidant effect. You may be familiar with beta-carotene, one of the 600 known carotenoids. A diet rich in carotenoids helps protect against cancer and heart disease and contribute to healthy eyes.
*What's a phytochemical? A phytochemical is a plant chemical that helps to keep plants healthy. These same plant chemicals help protect humans from disease and boost the immune system.
1 Asparagus B6, folate, K, potassium, fiber
2 Bell peppers B1, B2, B6, folate, C, fiber
3 Bok choy B6, C, K, Calcium, fiber
4 Broccoli B6, C, E, K, folate, fiber
5 Carrots A, C, Fiber, carotenoids*
6 Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots Phytochemicals*, fiber
7 Leafy greens such as spinach, watercress, swiss chard, romaine, kale, beets and mustard greens A, B2, B6, C, E, folate, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc, fiber
8 Potato (with skin) B6, C, potassium, magnesium, fiber
9 Sweet potato (with skin) A, C, potassium, copper, fiber
10 Tomato A, C, E, potassium, fiber
11 Acorn or butternut squash A, B1, B6, C, folate, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, fiber

Serving Suggestions:

  • Try to eat at least 1 to 2 cups of these vegetables at 2 meals each day.
  • An average of ¼ cup of chopped onion and 1 clove of garlic each day have healthy benefits.
  • Choose fresh and cooked tomato products every week.
  • Focus on variety. Choose a wide variety of colorful vegetables each day. The more vibrant the color, the better! Choose dark greens, bright reds, oranges, yellows and deep purples.
Protein Foods
Power Food Nutrients Supplied
*What are omega-3 fatty acids? Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) are a type of fat found in some fish, grains and legumes. Certain amounts of omega-3s in the diet can help lower triglyceride levels, limit blood clots and arrhythmias, reduce the risk of a heart attack and may boost the immune system.
12 Tuna: Wild, fresh and light canned in B12, D, protein, niacin, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids*
13 Salmon: Wild, fresh or canned pink B6, B12, D, phosphorus, potassium, selenium
14 Natural peanut butter or other nut butters, like almond and walnut E, protein, fiber, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus

Serving Suggestions:

  • Eat two 3- to 6-ounce servings of fish per week.
  • Eat 2 to 4 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or other nut butters per week.
Power Food Nutrients Supplied
*What's a flavonoid? A flavonoid is a type of phytochemical found in fruits, vegetables, teas and wine. Flavonoids have strong antioxidant properties, which are thought to protect against cancer and heart disease.
15 Apples and pears C, fiber, flavonoids*
16 Apricots (fresh or dried) A, C, E, K, fiber
17 Bananas B6, C, magnesium, potassium, fiber
18 Berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries and blackberries C, folate, manganese, potassium, fiber
19 Cantaloupe A, B6, C, folate, potassium, fiber
20 Citrus, such as oranges and grapefruits A, B6, C, folate, potassium, fiber
21 Kiwifruit C, E, magnesium, potassium, fiber
22 Papaya A, C, E, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium
23 Peaches C, E, K, fiber, potassium

Serving Suggestions:

  • Eat 3 servings of fresh (best), frozen or canned fruit (in its own juice) each day. If you have trouble controlling your blood sugars or triglycerides, you should eat whole fruits rather than drink fruit juices.
Soy Foods
Power Food Nutrients Supplied
*What's a phytoestrogen? A phytoestrogen is a type of phytochemical. It is found in soy products. Phytoestrogens are thought to help prevent estrogen-related cancers, relieve symptoms of menopause and protect against osteoporosis.
24 Soy milk and soy cheese B1, B12, D, protein, niacin, folate, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc
25 Soy nuts and soy nut butter Folate, magnesium, manganese, protein, phytoestrogens*
26 Tofu and tempeh B1, protein, niacin, folate, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc

Serving Suggestions:

Use any of these in place of meat in at least two meals per week.

Power Food Nutrients Supplied
27 Barley A, B2, Protein, fiber, niacin, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc
28 Brown rice B1, B6, fiber, niacin, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc
29 Bulgur Fiber, niacin, manganese, selenium, magnesium
30 Flaxseed Fiber, iron, omega-3 fatty acids
31 Oatmeal Soluble fiber, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc
32 Wheat germ B1, E, niacin, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc

Serving Suggestions:

  • Use barley in place of refined, processed grains and rice to add more nutrients to your diet.
  • Eat at least 4 cups of cooked oatmeal per week; try to avoid instant oatmeal.
  • Include wheat germ in your daily eating regimen. Try eating 2 tablespoons a few times a week.
  • Eat 2 tablespoons milled or ground flaxseed per day. Flax provides a "nutty" flavor when added to foods and is great in cooked oatmeal.
Power Food Nutrients Supplied
33 Black beans B1, protein, folate, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium
34 Black-eyed peas B1, B6, niacin, folate, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc
35 Kidney Beans B1, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids
36 Lentils B1, B6, protein, fiber, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc

Serving Suggestions:

  • Include at least 3 to 4 cups of legumes in your diet each week.
  • Use legumes as your protein source for lunch and 2 dinners a week.
  • Legumes are great in stews, soups, salads and mixed with other beans.

For more information on a heart-healthy diet plan:

  • Nutrition Program, Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Power Foods Shopping List, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. 216.444.9353.

Reviewed: 06/14

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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