via: health.com

5 Foods That Will Make Your Heart Happy

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If you’re a healthy student, chances are the only time you worry about your heart is when you’re surprised with a pop quiz. (Sometimes teachers can be so cruel). But your ticker deserves more attention than that—especially considering around 600,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease every year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country. And in case you thought being young excludes you from heart disease risks, think again. In fact, almost half of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have at least one coronary heart disease risk factor—such as high blood pressure, stress, or an unhealthy diet—which is pretty scary considering these factors can strongly predict a long-term risk of coronary heart disease. The good news for young people is that about 80 percent of heart disease can be prevented through healthy diet and lifestyle choices. That means hitting the gym, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and, most importantly, eating right. Apart from ditching sugary, salty and processed foods, it's a very good idea to load up on eats that help your heart. Here are five foods that you need to add to your shopping list:

1. Clementines

These high in Vitamin C fruits can reduce the risks of heart disease and are easy, on-the-go snacks. 

2. Potatoes

Potatoes are full of potassium and help to lower blood pressure. Instead of frying them, which loses its health benefits, it's better to roast them with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of seasonings. 

3. Almonds

Almonds are nuts that provide sources of Vitamin E and fiber. They can be added to your salads, oatmeal, yogurt or even eaten by themselves. There are different variations of flavors and salt but the most beneficial are plain almonds.

4. Kale

As a green superfood, Kale has an abundance of antioxidants, fiber, and minerals, which help to prevent harmful compounds from entering your body. A great way to cook kale is seasoned and baked in the oven. The product of this cooking method is delicious kale chips.

5. Dark Chocolate

Some may believe it's a myth but it has been proven that dark chocolate is truly good for your heart.  The semi-sweet treat can reduce the risk of a heart attack and also helps to keep blood pressure down. 

Which one of these heart-healthy foods are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Elon Graves is a Teen Reporter with dreams of making an impact. The high school senior, who is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, served as the Editor of her school newspaper and in the Superintendent’s Student Cabinet. Elon enjoys writing about the injustices of society, influences in music, and how culture shapes people. Most importantly, her love of the arts defines who she is. She not only loves to express herself through words, but as dancer she articulates herself through movement. In 2017, she plans to attend college with a major/minor in either Journalism or Dance. Her ultimate dream is to live in New York where she can delve further into her passions.