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As lifespans increase, proactively keeping your heart healthy becomes a bigger priority. According to Medical News Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Data from the Health Indicators Warehouse shows a consistent decline in heart disease deaths from 2008 to 2012, but 2013 saw a slight increase.
Cardiovascular diseases are often caused by high-cholesterol, which contributes to the buildup of plaque on the walls of blood vessels. However, exercising regularly and eating a diet full of cholesterol-fighting foods can help keep heart diseases at bay.
Using data from the ESHA nutritional database, the analysts at HealthGrove found the top 25 most heart-healthy foods by ranking them on their Heart Healthy Index scores. This index looks at the ratio of “good” nutrients (those that treat high cholesterol) to “bad” nutrients (those that contribute to poor heart health). To calculate the index score for each food, HealthGrove divided the percent daily values of selenium, vitamin B3, magnesium and calcium (“good” nutrients) by the percent daily value of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol (“bad” nutrients). Foods with scores closest to 100 are the most heart-healthy.
Though you’ll recognize many foods on this list, some might surprise you.