Salmon, oatmeal, kidney or black beans, walnuts, and spinach are heart-healthy foods that help protect the heart and blood vessels, according to WebMD. Blueberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes and carrots are good sources of fiber and beta-carotene, and dark chocolate, tea and red wine contain healthy flavonoids.
Foods containing substances such as phytoestrogens, phytosterols, carotenoids and polyphenols have various heart-healthy properties, states WebMD. Phytoestrogens, found in flaxseed, help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce risk of stroke, cardiac arrhythmias and blood clots. Nuts, seeds and wheat germ contain phytosterols that reduce cholesterol. Carotenoids such as lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene and lycopene are available from a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as papaya, and contain heart-healthy antioxidants. Polyphenols, including flavonoids and non-flavonoid polyphenols, help protect blood vessels, reduce LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Other important nutrients for heart patients include omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, notes WebMD. Omega-3 fatty acids help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots and protect arteries from plaque buildup. They also serve as anti-inflammatories, improve cholesterol, and lower triglycerides and blood pressure levels. Vitamins C, E and B-complex, including B12, B6 and B3, support the cardiovascular system against blood clots, hardening of the arteries and free radical cell damage.