When it comes to heart healthy foods, more and more products that can positively affect blood pressure, cholesterol, or overall cardiovascular health are hitting grocery store shelves. In a recent issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Editor Linda Milo Ohr compiles a comprehensive list of whole foods as well as food ingredients in which recent research has uncovered cardiovascular benefits.

All corresponding references and studies for the following list can be found in the full Food Technology article here.


Fruits and Vegetables
• Apples — a study showed that dried apple can lower cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women
• Potatoes—contain high concentrations of antioxidants that help to decrease blood pressure
• Grapes—supports cardiovascular heath
• Raisins—deliver dietary fiber and beneficial nutrients like potassium and antioxidants associated with cardio-protective benefits

• Almonds—naturally cholesterol free, deliver protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin, all of which contribute to heart health
• Walnuts—a study showed that eating two ounces of walnuts daily may improve cardiovascular health in people with type 2 diabetes
• Pistachios—may lower LDL cholesterol levels
• Pecans—contain very little saturated fat, have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol

Beta-glucans (sugars that are found in the cell walls of plants)
• Barley and Oats—when used as an ingredient-soluble fiber, it makes you feel full longer; research shows it may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
• Canola oil—high in essential fatty acids, and authorized by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fats
• Olive oil—a study showed that olive oil can significantly improve cardiovascular functions
• Krill oil—source of omega-3 fatty acids and naturally occurring antioxidants

• Tomato concentrate—in several studies tomato concentrate helped with blood clotting and improved blood flow
• Olive extract— protects blood lipids from oxidative damage
• Cocoa extract—can help keep blood vessels healthy and supports healthy circulation

• Soy—multiple benefits to cardiovascular health
• Dairy— can reduce systolic blood pressure

Source: Institute of Food Technologists Press Release