Top 3 Sources of Protein for Your Heart Health

almond butter
America's top heart hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, shares the best proteins for boosting heart health. Eat them often to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Cleveland Clinic's Top Protein Picks

Each of the following proteins is loaded with nutrients that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help you lose weight. To get the most out of every bite of protein, follow these serving suggestions:
-- The American Heart Association recommends that most adults eat 6-16 ounces of fatty fish a week.

-- Eat 2-4 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or other nut butters per week.

Top Heart-Health Proteins: Tuna

wild, fresh; or light canned in water

Benefits: Vitamins B12 and D, protein, niacin, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids*

What to look for when buying tuna: Chunk, light tuna is preferred to albacore in canned or pouched tuna. Albacore is slightly higher in mercury.

Storing: Unwrap fresh tuna when you get home and pat dry with paper towel. Wrap in plastic and place on the lowest shelf in your fridge.

Using: Grill or broil tuna steaks. Or use canned or pouched tuna in salads or in pasta dishes for a quick meal rich in omega-3s.

*Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of several cardiovascular problems.

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Top Heart-Health Proteins: Salmon

wild, fresh; or canned pink

Benefits: Vitamins B6, B12, and D, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids

What to look for when buying salmon: Fresh salmon meat gives slightly when pressed. If scales are present, they should look shiny and tight.

Storing: Rinse and pat dry fresh salmon when you get it home. Wrap in plastic with 1-2 lemon slices and place on lowest shelf in the refrigerator.

Using: For each inch of thickness, broil for 10 minutes. Wrap thin edges under fillet to avoid overcooking them.

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Top Heart-Health Proteins: Natural Nut Butter

peanut, almond, or walnut

Benefits: Vitamins E and B3, protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus

What to look for when buying natural nut butter: Choose natural nut butters that do not have partially hydrogenated oils or sugars added. Typically, the ingredients will be just peanuts and salt.

Storing: Try storing upside down in fridge to help oil and peanuts mix better.

Using: Try nut butters in cooked oatmeal or on whole-grain breads, but watch portion size for calorie control.

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