Ticker-friendly foods

A few foods you might not think of as heart-healthy

There are some foods universally recognized as heart-healthy diet options—like salmon, nuts, berries and beans—but here are a few oddballs you might not suspect:

Fresh herbs: Especially when they replace salty and fatty seasonings, herbs like rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme make many other foods more heart-healthy.

Coffee: That’s right. Not only does it crank you up in the morn- ing, coffee may help ward off Type 2 diabetes. Studies show people who drink three to four cups a day cut their risk by up to 25 percent.

Cayenne pepper: Sprinkling cayenne powder on your favorite foods can help lower insulin levels, particularly among those already overweight.

Sterol-fortified foods: Margarine, soy milk, or orange juice fortified with sterols—organic molecules occuring naturally in many plants, animals and fungi—can block cholesterol absorption.

Swiss chard: Though it may not be the rock star of leafy greens, Swiss chard is rich in potassium and magnesium, both of which help control blood pressure.

Source: WebMD.com