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Seven not-so-deadly sins

Foods that can keep you hale and hearty

health and fitness Updated: Jul 24, 2011 01:03 IST

Oats: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium, this high-fibre super food lowers bad (or LDL) cholesterol and prevents the arteries from getting blocked.

Fish: Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines lower blood pressure and prevents blood from clotting. Eating oily fish twice a week reduces the risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.

Nuts and seeds: Walnuts and almonds are full of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy heat-protective mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Nuts are also high in fibre, which prevent hunger and helps control weight. Adding flaxseed or sunflower seeds to salads and vegetables pushes up your fibre and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids intake.

Legumes: Fill up on fibre with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and soluble fibre.

Spinach: The lutein, folate, potassium and fibre in spinach do wonders for the heart. The US Physicians' Health Study of more than 15,000 healthy men for 12 years found that those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings (one serving is one cup raw and half cup cooked) of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by 25%, compared with those who didn't eat veggies. Each additional serving reduced risk by another 17%.

Soy: Natural sources of soy, such as edamame and tofu are low in saturated fat and a source of lean protein.

Olive oil: Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers artery-blocking bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease. Use extra-virgin oil -it is 100% olive oil - for salad and cooking as far as possible.