14. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease and stroke. They are also high in fiber and in lignans. Lignans are plant polyphenols that may play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease. Flax seeds can be sprinkled on oatmeal or salads, mixed into muffin batter, or blended into a smoothie.
A study at Harvard showed that people who ate walnut-enriched diets had lower total cholesterol levels, a greater decrease in LDL cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels than people on other diets. Walnuts contain antioxidants that protect your heart against disease. Although these nuts contain healthy fats, you may want to limit yourself to about one ounce per day. Enjoy them sprinkled on oatmeal, roasted in the oven, or on top of a salad.
Another heart-healthy nut is the almond. Almonds are high in unsaturated fat, vitamin E, and fiber. Enjoy almonds in crunchy granola, on top of yogurt, or as a nut butter served with apple slices. Other healthy nuts include pecans, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts. Choose nuts that are unsalted and raw or dry-roasted for the most health benefits.Related: 5 Tasty Nuts for Healthier Living