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Walnuts

A rich source of omega-3's, walnuts are one of the best ways to get these essential fatty acids, which play a key role in heart health. Countless studies show that omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. "Omega-3s give rise to anti-inflammatory molecules known as resolvins and protectins, both of which ward off blood clots that can trigger stroke and heart attack," explains Shane Ellison, author of The Hidden Truth about Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs.

Walnuts also contain high levels of the amino acid L-arginine, which converts into nitric oxide in the body and keeps blood vessels smooth and relaxed. Individuals with hypertension often have trouble maintaining normal nitric oxide levels, so walnuts are a great addition to their diets.

Choose It & Use It
You get 90 percent of the recommended daily value of omega-3 fats from 1/4 cup of walnuts. Add to salads or baked goods, or blend into spreads. Store in the refrigerator for up to nine months or the freezer for up to two years to preserve flavor, texture, and antioxidants.

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