Top 5 Foods for a Heart Healthy Diet

Heart Healthy Food No. 1: Fish

This grilled salmon and spinach salad is both delicious and nutritious.
This grilled salmon and spinach salad is both delicious and nutritious.
Sergey Kashkin/Getty Images

The name of the game here is omega-3 fatty acids. It sounds like something from the future, but it's really just a fancy way of saying that it's "good fat." Omega-3s are good for the body in many ways, but it's the heart that really reaps the benefits. They permeate the arteries and make them more flexible. This helps to reduce your blood pressure and it prevents inflammation. Omega-3s also help to regulate the electrical impulses that keep your heart beating at a consistent rate. Think of them as a natural pace-maker. If that's not enough, omega-3s help to reduce the amount of plaque that builds up inside the walls of your arteries. Plaque comes from bad cholesterol hanging on to your arteries like drywall spackle. The omega-3s come along and make the cholesterol lighter, which makes it more difficult to stick to the inside of your blood vessels.

Are you convinced that omega-3s are a heart "superfood?" Now here's the best part. You can find it in spades in something that many people love to eat -- seafood. Salmon leads the charge here, with loads of omega-3. It's also packed with protein. If you don't feel like swimming upstream, then you can get omega-3s from pollock, tuna, herring, mackerel and swordfish. Both the FDA and the American Heart Association recommend eating fresh fish at least twice a week, so break out the rod and reel and get to work.

These are in the top five, but read on for a list of other heart healthy foods you should include in your diet.