What Are Heart-Healthy Foods? (Hint: Dark Chocolate & Wine!)

Get Your Heart Set on Health

How many times have you heard, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, in a way this holds true for males and females alike.

Your heart is paramount for your overall health and keeps the rest of your bodily systems running smoothly. That’s why it’s crucial—for lifelong health and wellness—that you care for your heart through healthy eating and exercise. Unfortunately, around half of all Americans have at least one of the following heart disease risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.1 And beyond that, overweight/obesity, older age, and genetics also play a role.1

Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to help support the health of your heart—starting with the foods you eat every single day.

A List of Foods After Your Own Heart

Add more of these heart-healthy foods to your diet:2-10

Dark Chocolate

Look for a minimum of 70 percent cacao on the label, which has been shown to reduce cardiovascular event incidence.

Omega-3-Rich Fish

High in omega-3s, salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and trout are the best options.


With fiber, healthy fats, and vitamin E, these are full of benefits. Whenever possible, choose unsalted or lighter salt options.


The secretu2019s in the lycopene, along with high amounts of vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, & Asparagus

Donu2019t skimp on these veggies: Sulforaphane, found in broccoli and cauliflower, has powerful antioxidant benefits, and all three are loaded with other nutrients like potassium, folate, and fiber.

Red Wine

A 4-oz. glass a day can help support healthy HDL cholesterol levels.


Full of phytonutrients as well as fiber, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries make the cut.


Say yes to healthy fats! (Itu2019s not a party without guacamole.)

Green Tea & Coffee

Green tea is packed with antioxidants and shown to support heart health in those who drink it regularly, and coffee consumption in moderation is associated with better heart health outcomes.

Beans & Lentils

Beans are high in fiber and B vitamins, while generous amounts of folate and magnesium in lentils help to lower homocysteine levels.

Spinach & Kale

These nutrient-dense greens are high in carotenoids, which have antioxidant power in the body. Use them in place of regular lettuce!


This yummy snack has been associated with healthy cholesterol levels and healthy blood pressure.

Oranges, Apples, & Bananas

These fruits have high amounts of flavonoids, which are plant bioactives linked to heart health. Whatu2019s not aPEELing about that?

Olive Oil

This go-to cooking oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats, which can help support healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

With many delicious options, this list is sure to win your heart. But it’s important to note that, like any good thing, it’s best to consume some of these in moderation. Per the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.11 Anything above the recommended amount may be damaging to health. And while fish are high in beneficial omega-3s, certain kinds of fish may contain high levels of mercury and other heavy metals, so be mindful of how much you’re consuming in a given week.

Healthy foods do your heart good! Take this list with you on your next trip to the grocery store. It can make a monumental difference in your long-term health.



  1. Fryar CD et al. Prevalence of uncontrolled risk factors for cardiovascular disease: United States, 1999-2010. NCHS Data Brief. 2012;Aug(103):1-8.
  2. Zomer E et al. The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of dark chocolate consumption as prevention therapy in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease: best case scenario analysis using a Markov model. 2012;344:e3657.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. 15 Heart-Healthy Foods to Work into Your Diet. Health Essentials. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/15-heart-healthy-foods-to-work-into-your-diet/. Accessed March 20, 2018.
  4. Cleveland Clinic. Cholesterol Numbers: What Do They Mean? https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11920-cholesterol-numbers-what-do-they-mean?_ga=2.10662512.515777812.1521668601-807692142.1520297513&_ga=2.10662512.515777812.1521668601-807692142.1520297513. Accessed March 20, 2018.
  5. Freedman ND et al. Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med. 2012;366:1891-1904.
  6. Wolfram S. Effects of green tea and EGCG on cardiovascular and metabolic health. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26(4):373S-388S.
  7. Ligor M et al. Study of antioxidant activity of biologically active compounds isolated from green vegetables by couple analytical techniques. Food Anal Methods. 2013;6(2):630-636.
  8. Cleveland Clinic. Yogurt: Good for Your Heart? Health Essentials. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/yogurt-good-heart/. Accessed March 20, 2018.
  9. Kozłowska A et al. Flavonoids—food sources and health benefits. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2014;65(2):79-85.
  10. Estruch R et al. Primary prevention of cardiovasular disease with a Mediterranean diet. N Engl J Med. 2013;368:1279-1290.
  11. USDHHS and USDA. Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020. Executive Summary. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/. Accessed April 27, 2018.


Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team


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