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Walnuts

Walnuts
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Another powerful nut! Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, a powerful antioxidant that may reduce inflammation and other risk macros for heart disease, Morey explains. A handful of walnuts a day as a snack is an easy way to get this important nutrient. Or, scatter a few on top of a salad for a satisfying crunch. Or, add some to your oatmeal along with raisins or dried cranberries for a power breakfast.

Whole grains

Whole grains
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Cracked wheat, barley, farro, millet, and quinoa are just a few of the 19 whole grains you can cook with and enjoy in all sorts of dishes. Whole grains digest slowly, keeping you feeling fuller, longer, Morey says. Plus they boost serotonin levels and make you feel happy – and they brighten your mood because they’re so delicious! A half-cup serving of any whole grain alongside a serving of veggies and lean protein should have you strolling on the sunny side of the street in no time. Follow packaging directions for preparation, but realise that most whole grains don’t require any special technique. However, toasting them in a dry pot for a few minutes before adding water adds depth of flavour.

Oats

Oats
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Oats contain a high proportion of soluble fibre, which reduces ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, according to Morey.

If good health floats your boat – get onto oats!

Yoghurts and spreads

Yoghurts and spreads
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Yoghurts and spreads containing plant sterols (similar to good cholesterol) can reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol by up to 10 per cent, Morey says.

Olive oil

Olive oil
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Extra virgin olive oil offers a potent mix of antioxidants that reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while leaving your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol untouched. “While overall it can be a healthier alternative to other saturated fats, it’s still important to use fats in moderation,” Morey adds.

Adding fresh herbs to olive oil can really enhance its flavour, here are some other nearly forgotten kitchen secrets.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes
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Tomatoes and tomato paste are packed with vitamins and the antioxidant lycopene, which has beneficial effects on the heart, Morey says.

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Apples

Apples
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An apple a day may really keep the doctor away! “Apples contain soluble fibre, which can help lower cholesterol, in addition to polyphenols, a group of phytochemicals known for their antioxidant properties,” Morey says.

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic
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Onions and garlic help reduce blood cholesterol, as well as improving circulation and discouraging blood clotting, Morey says.

Red wine

Red wine
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Red wine has been shown to clean up the walls of the arteries – but be careful not to exceed healthy guidelines of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, Morey advises.

Avocados

Avocados
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Millennials may get teased for their love of avocado toast, but when it comes to heart health, they’re on to something. Research shows that people who ate an avocado a day had lower levels of LDL – the so-called bad cholesterol, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.  “Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fat and soluble fibre,” says dietitian Tracy Severson.  “But they have a lot of calories, so it’s important to watch the portions.”

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