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I'm a registered dietitian. These are the top 5 foods I recommend for heart health

Managing your heart health can start with what you put on your plate.
/ Source: TODAY

What you eat can help keep you and your heart ticking along.

Combined with regular physical activity, plenty of sleep and stress management, incorporating the right nutritious foods into your diet can support your heart — and your whole body.

If you’re thinking about maintaining your heart health right now, start eating more of these five foods, Vanessa Rissetto, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Culina Health, tells

Nuts and seeds

Nuts contain a powerful combination of fiber, protein and fat, according to Rissetto, "and they can be a complete source of protein," she saying, adding that they contain all nine essential amino acids.

For example, pistachios contain six grams of complete protein per serving and three grams of fiber, Rissetto explains. "You can also pair it with fruit and have an awesome snack." 

These foods are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says, which are generally considered healthier fats that can support heart health.


Beans, which you can eat as a snack or part of a main meal, have a "ton of fiber," Rissetto explains. That fiber can be helpful in weight management and gut health, she says.

Plus, the soluble fiber in beans reduces the amount of cholesterol that gets taken up into your bloodstream, the Mayo Clinic explains.

Whole grains

Oatmeal, brown rice and other whole grains contain helpful nutrients like magnesium, antioxidants and folic acid.

That folic acid, also called vitamin B9, is particularly helpful for managing metabolism and may play a role in preventing stroke and heart disease, the National Institutes of Health say.

So yes, contrary to popular belief, you don't need to avoid all carbs, a common nutrition myth.

Lean meats

You're probably already familiar with lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish. But a pork tenderloin is also a lean meat, Rissetto says, and it can even be leaner than chicken.

"They (often) come two to a pack, and one serving will feed a family of four," she says. "You can then marinate the other serving, put it in the freezer and save it for a rainy day." 

Dark chocolate

Pair dark chocolate with Greek yogurt or almonds for a tasty, fiber-filled snack, Rissetto says. If you can, opt for 85% cocoa dark chocolate to get the most fiber. But 72% cocoa dark chocolate isn't bad either — and you might find it more enjoyable to eat.