Much attention is paid to the heart on Valentine’s Day, but maybe romance shouldn’t be the sole focus. Keeping the heart healthy is the best way to keep love alive — and diet is key to heart health. Rachel Johnson, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at University of Vermont and chair of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee, shares the five most important foods to have in your diet’s rotation — plus the two most important to skip.

Love ‘Em

Oranges: These citrus fruits are high in fiber and potassium, both of which may protect against heart disease. Fiber (eat the whole fruit, not just the juice, to get it) has cholesterol-lowering benefits, while potassium helps reduce blood pressure. “Americans typically get too much sodium and too little potassium, but getting more potassium can help blunt the unhealthy effects of sodium,” Johnson says.

Avocados: Many people avoid avocados because they are higher in calories and fat than most other fruits and vegetables. But eaten in moderation, they are easily a heart-healthy food. A serving (which is one-fifth of a medium avocado) has just 50 calories, and 3 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat — both healthy fats that …read more

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