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 an 18-year-old with eager plans to change the world. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University with a major in journalism focus in PR and minor in Spanish. Elon has worked for Pretty Girls Sweat as both a Teen Diaries Writer and Social Media/Editorial Intern. Along with writing, Elon takes up a passion for the arts through dance. She is also a member of Next Generation Service Corps, a rigorous program that develops students to be leaders in all sectors of business. The artistic writer and dancer has plans to use her platform to bring more opportunities to young people in the future.