Aim to eat five to ten servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Eating a good amount of produce can reduce blood cholesterol levels, prevent cell damage, reduce blood clots, plaque build up in the arteries, increase blood flow, and strengthen the circulatory system. Learn more about these 7 phytochemicals to help prevent heart disease…

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1. Carotenoids

Found in: Carrots, plums, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, kale, & spinach.

Benefit: Carotenoids help prevent the hardening of the arteries and can decrease the risk of certain cancers and eye disease. (1)

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2. Polyphenols

Found in: Red wine, black tea, spinach, green tea, vegetables, pecans, cocoa solids, chestnuts, broccoli, coffee, blueberries, elderberries, hazelnuts, & red onion.

Benefit: Polyphenols can reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce overall mortality from coronary diseases. (2)

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SEE ALSO: Top 10 Antioxidant Foods

3. Antioxidants

Found in: Goji berries, blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans, artichoke, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, & black beans.

Benefit: Antioxidants delay certain types of cell damage, keep cholesterol from sticking to artery walls, and prevent damage to the heart from free radicals. (3)

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4. Flavonols

Found in: Red peppers, sweet peppers, strawberries, lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, broccoli, brussels sprouts, mangoes, papayas, garlic, spinach, & herbal teas.

Benefit: Flavonols can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and stroke. Plus, they might play a distinctive role in protecting the brain. (4)

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5. Catechins

Found in: Apples, blackberries, dark chocolate, red wine, cherries, guava, pears, fava beans, & cocoa products.

Benefit: The regular ingestion of catechins can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and prevent clots in the blood vessels, thus decreasing the chances of cardiovascular disease. (5)

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SEE ALSO: 24 Healthiest Foods On Earth

6. Phytosterols

Found in: Green leaf lettuce, pickles, sesame seeds, asparagus, beets, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, sage, okra, lemon, cauliflower, & bamboo shoots.

Benefit: Phytosterols play a key role in cell function by reducing cholesterol counts, protecting against cancer, and combating skin aging. (6)

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7. Allyl Sulfides

Found in: Garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, chives, & scallions.

Benefit: Allyl sulfides aid blood circulation, and reduce the risk of plaque build up in the arteries. Additionally, they act as a potential anticancer compound and can prevent bone loss. (7)

Written by Chief Health

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