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I Heart Food

Unveiling the right foods that are good for your heart.

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Mmmmm… dark chocolate… red wine… green tea… black coffee…

Some of life's most flavorful pleasures have been recently touted in the media as good for your heart. Supposedly, if consumed in moderation, dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, black coffee and more may be heart healthy choices.

But, before you stock your pantry with these indulgences, let's take a reality check. The research is still preliminary, and may be bolstered, in some part, by wishful thinking.

In the meantime, there are foods you can eat that are scientifically proven to help promote heart health. According to the American Heart Association, there's convincing evidence that these foods, when eaten in adequate quantities, can help prevent heart disease:

Fruits and vegetables

Fish, preferably oily fish, such as salmon

Fiber-rich whole grains

Legumes, nuts and seeds

"We know a healthy diet and lifestyle are powerful tools in the fight against heart disease." says Amy Cohn of the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. "Simple, small changes can make a difference. For example, including more vegetables or fruits with your meals, or swapping out white bread with whole grain is a move in the right direction."

Another tenet of heart-healthy eating is not eating too much of the wrong kinds of fat. It's best to keep your consumption of saturated fat to a bare minimum, and eliminate trans fat from your diet.

If this all leaves you scratching your head and wishing for a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate, rest assured that it's not at all difficult to eat foods that keep your ticker happily ticking. Use these 12 recipes to get you started, then feel free to begin exploring new ways to incorporate proven heart-healthy foods into your diet.

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