Shocking Discovery: These 5 Ingredients Will Transform Your Heart Health Forever!

Are you concerned about your heart health due to poor life decisions or a family history of heart-related disease? You’re not alone: heart problems remain the most common cause of death for men and women, and according to the CDC, around 695,000 people die of heart-related concerns every year in the United States alone. However, a heart-healthy diet can help mitigate some risks and keep you healthier. In fact, the following five ingredients for heart health are some of the healthiest in the world: we think a few might even surprise you!

Key Ingredients For Heart Health

Though many healthy foods can improve your heart health, we discovered five shocking items among the best ingredients for heart health. These delicious foods include:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  2. Fiber-Rich Foods
  3. Antioxidant-Rich Foods
  4. Plant Sterols and Stanols
  5. Dark Chocolate
foods rich in Omega 3

Ingredient 1: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have become a big buzzword in recent years, with many medical experts and researchers noting their benefits on heart health. Though research has found it’s excellent for every cell in your body, its heart health benefits are particularly beneficial. For example, it can help minimize plaque buildup in arteries, lower heart attack, and stroke risk, and even improve good cholesterol while decreasing harmful cholesterol levels.

Frustratingly, few foods naturally have omega-3 fatty acids: that’s why so many people take supplements that improve their levels. What foods provide these acids? Essentially, almost only seafood, including various fish species and even shrimp. Just a few you might enjoy include:

  • Herring – 1.7 grams per three ounces
  • Wild salmon – 1.6 grams per three ounces
  • Bluefin tuna – 1.3 grams per three ounces
  • Mackerel – 1 gram per three ounces
  • Sardines – 0.9 grams per 3.75-ounce can
  • Anchovies – 0.9 grams per two ounces
  • Lake trout – 0.8 grams per three ounces
  • Striped bass – 0.8 grams per three ounces

Note that flaxseed oil (7.26 grams per tablespoon), chia seeds (5.06 grams per tablespoon), and canola oil (1.28 grams per tablespoon) all contain healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. While these sources don’t digest as quickly as seafood, they’re a good alternative if you don’t like or are allergic to fish and need a healthier source.

How to Integrate These Foods Into Your Diet

Cook and eat fish no more than once or twice monthly because many fish species have high mercury levels. You can also cook with canola oil and flaxseed oil, snack on chia seeds, or bake them in various meals to boost your omega-3 fatty oil levels.

Foods rich in fiber

Ingredient 2: Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber-rich foods are among the healthiest for your digestive system but can also help improve your heart health. For example, it can decrease bad cholesterol, protect against diabetes and stroke, help people lose weight, and encourage healthy weight levels.

How do you integrate high-fiber foods into your diet? Do you need to choke down fiber powder every day? Not if you eat foods like:

  • Lentils – 18 grams per boiled cup
  • Split peas – 16 grams per boiled cup
  • Black beans – 15 grams per canned cup
  • Pinto beans – 15 grams per boiled cup
  • Artichoke hearts – 14 grams per cooked cup
  • Kidney beans – 12 grams per cooked cup
  • Chickpeas – 12 grams per cooked cup
  • Chia seeds – 10 grams per cooked cup

Other great fiber sources include raspberries (eight grams per cup), blackberries (7.5 grams per cup), and pears (six grams per cup). High-fiber snacks include popcorn, bananas, carrots in hummus, kale chips, and even celery.

How to Integrate These Foods Into Your Diet

Try to integrate things like lentils, split peas, black beans, and pinto beans into your diet as a meat replacement to improve your heart health further. You can also snack on hummus to get some chickpeas into your diet or cook artichoke hearts instead of broccoli.

Ingredient 3: Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidants are substances that help with oxidative stress, a change in our cells due to excessive oxygen production throughout our cells. Confused? Well, just know that oxidants can cause problems like heart disease and cancer and that antioxidants help improve heart health by removing these oxidants from the body. These benefits are noticeable as long as antioxidants are consumed at healthy levels. Foods rich in antioxidants include:

  • Blueberries are low in calories and high in healthy antioxidants like anthocyanins.
  • Dark Chocolate helps reduce heart disease and inflammation and reduces blood pressure.
  • Artichokes are also fiber-rich, as we noted in the previous section.
  • Pecans can reduce bad cholesterol and provide good fat for your body.
  • Strawberries reduce bad cholesterol and can help prevent heart disease.
  • Red cabbage contains high levels of various vitamins and can reduce inflammation.
  • Raspberries provide high fiber levels, many vitamins, and multiple nutrients.

How to Integrate These Foods Into Your Diet

Many of these foods, such as blueberries and strawberries, are easy to eat as snacks. Make a fruit salad with pecans and a side of artichokes served with hummus for a healthy meal. You can also replace your ordinary lettuce or cabbage with red cabbage to get more antioxidants.

Ingredient 4: Plant Sterols and Stanols

When it comes to the best ingredients for heart health, the term “plant sterols and stanols” may not mean much to you. What exactly do we mean by this? Basically, it refers to various plants and lean meats that can help reduce your bad cholesterol and improve your good! There are many foods that fall into this category, including:

  • All vegetables and fruits
  • Legumes like dried beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seed
  • Low- or reduced-fat dairy products
  • Healthy saturated oils and table spreads
  • Poultry, fish, and lean meats

How to Integrate These Foods Into Your Diet

Get rid of your red meat and eat chicken and fish when possible, as well as always serving vegetables and fruits with each meal. Replace potato chips with nuts and seeds for a healthier snack!

Ingredient 5: Dark Chocolate

If you’re a chocolate fiend (who isn’t?), prepare to cheer: dark chocolate can be very healthy for your heart! It can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to your heart, and even lower bad cholesterol. Furthermore, dark chocolate releases endorphins that naturally improve your mood: you’re always so happy after eating a chocolate cookie!

Dark chocolate is typically available in chocolate bars, cakes, puddings, and other desserts. You can buy it in bakeries and grocery stores and try it in your cookies and your birthday cakes to make them a little healthier.

How to Integrate This Food Into Your Diet

Buy dark chocolate (as high of a cocoa count as you can stomach) and eat one small bite after dinner daily. It can help satisfy your love of chocolate and support your heart health.

Tips For Incorporating Heart-Healthy Ingredients

If you want to use the best ingredients for heart health, follow these simple tips. We’ll go over grocery shopping, lifestyle changes, exercises, and other steps that you can take to boost your heart health

Grocery Shopping for Heart Health

Before going to the grocery store to buy these foods, consider these heart-healthy shopping tips to ensure you shop more healthily:

  • Prepare menus rich with the foods we mentioned first
  • Stop at the healthy food sections first before moving on to other aisles
  • Never shop hungry: eat a healthy meal to avoid hangry buying
  • Always read nutrition labels to check for the items listed here
  • Buy canned foods with water, instead of oil, to avoid unnecessary fat
  • Focus on buying foods without salt or extra sodium
  • Purchase multi-grain foods or ingredients first

Meal Prep Tips

Did you know that even the ways you prepare and cook your food can affect your heart health? It’s true, and there are things you can do to stay healthier! Here are a few heart-healthy meal prep tips to keep in mind when cooking every day:

  • Plan all your meals at least a week in advance
  • Buy fresh ingredients with minimal to no preservatives
  • Eat balanced meals with breakfast, lunch, and dinner spread evenly
  • Use heart-healthy snacks (like dried chickpeas) between meals
  • Avoid frying or other unhealthy cooking methods

Furthermore, you should also try to make delicious meals like Pork Chops with Balsamic-Peach Glaze and integrate healthy items like artichokes, chia seeds, and other heart-healthy ingredients into each meal you prepare. Another recipe that you might like is Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, as you can integrate hummus, multi-grains, and other delicious ingredients into the meal to make it healthier. You can even adapt this Apple Pear Crisp recipe by adding blueberries, strawberries, or other healthy fruits to make a delicious snack or dessert!

Try Healthier Cooking Methods

Put away your deep-fryer and your frying pans! Cooking with the best ingredients for heart health should also include these healthy cooking methods:

  • Baking
  • Blanching
  • Braising
  • Broiling
  • Grilling
  • Poaching
  • Roasting
  • Sauteeing
  • Steaming
  • Stir-frying

Yes, these cooking methods take longer than frying: that’s kind of the point. Trying to cook food too quickly via frying or other unhealthy methods makes them far worse for your health. Frustratingly, they even strip your food of much of its nutrients. Embrace slow cooking and take the time to prepare your food with the love and attention that it deserves.

Lifestyle Factors for a Healthy Heart

While changing your diet will immediately improve your heart health, it’s important to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. This can include walking, running, swimming, biking, hiking, and other exercises. However, there are also many other changes you can make, including:

  • Avoiding sitting for too long: if you work a desk job, buy a standing desk
  • Take a gentle walk in the morning every day to get your body working
  • Schedule workouts with friends and family
  • Stretching after sitting for too long
  • Set a clock that gets you to stand up every 15 minutes every hour

You may also try stress-management techniques, like yoga, meditation, controlled breathing, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Why? Stress can cause severe heart damage and, even worse, your risk of heart attacks and strokes. By better managing your stress, you can decrease its risk of adversely affecting your heart health.

Bad Habits to Stop

Everyone has bad habits: it’s part of being human! Unfortunately, there are many bad habits that could contribute to your heart disease, such as:

  • Sitting for more than eight hours a day
  • Spending too much time alone without others
  • Adding too much salt to your food
  • Not sleeping 8-10 hours per day
  • Smoking cigarettes regularly
  • Drinking too much alcohol

Trying to quit these bad habits ASAP can provide almost immediate benefits for your heart health. Talk with your doctor about potential health complications that could occur when quitting smoking and drinking, or other unhealthy habits.


By integrating foods with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber-rich foods, antioxidant-rich foods, plant sterols and stanols, and dark chocolate into your diet, you can greatly improve your heart health. Remember: many of these ingredients for heart health help the rest of your body, and holistic recovery is critical for your overall health. Please try out these ingredients and lifestyle changes to improve your heart health and regain a healthier and happier life.

Photo of author

Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

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