The most effective heart-healthy recipes you need to attempt in 2021


How often do you think of your heart Probably not that often, but it works hard for us every second of the day. Our heart pumps blood around our body, carrying the nutrients and oxygen that our organs rely on. And it also sends the carbon dioxide that we need to get rid of into our lungs. That is, without a healthy heart, we are in great trouble. Unfortunately, heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.

The food, the drinks, the air we breathe, and the activities we all do all affect our ticker. Since our goal is to keep it in good shape for decades, let’s take a look at the nutrients that can help us support heart health and the delicious foods we can find them in.

Essential nutrients for heart health


Studies have shown a link between a deficiency in this mineral and high blood pressure. People who aren’t getting enough have elevated markers of inflammation, which can increase your risk of heart disease. You can find magnesium in beets, almonds, spinach, bananas, and avocados. Women aged 31 and over need 320 mg per day. Men aged 31 and over need 420 mg. Here are some yummy ways to get it:

1. Roasted beets with pistachios and ricotta salata

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

If you think you don’t like beets, it’s time to try them again! The roasting brings out their natural sweetness and their earthy taste goes well with the crispy pistachios and salty ricotta salata cheese in this hearty salad.

2. Beet citrus smoothie

Beet citrus smoothie

Courtesy Frances Largeman-Roth, RD

The beautiful, bright pink hue of this vegan smoothie will help you recharge your batteries at any time of the day. And the magnesium it contains helps keep your ticker healthy. In addition, the hemp seeds in the recipe have the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease.

3. Maple-Almond Crunch Bites

Maple-Almond Crunch Bites


These canapes, sweetened with dates, are perfect as a pre-workout snack or as an afternoon treat. They are loaded with almonds in four forms (almonds, almond butter, almond flour, and almond milk) and also contain high-fiber chia seeds.

4. Quick and easy lemon crust salmon and garlic spinach

Quick and easy salmon with lemon crust and garlic spinach


Magnesium-rich spinach pairs with another heart-healthy food in this simple weekday meal – salmon.


This electrolyte is important for a healthy heart. Potassium helps balance levels of sodium in the body, which keeps your heart healthy and lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s why it’s a cornerstone of the premium DASH diet. Fortunately, this mineral is abundant in plant foods, which is why nutritionists keep telling us to eat more fruits and vegetables. You harvest a lot of potassium in bananas, potatoes, milk, orange juice, peaches, and winter squash. Women aged 19 and over need 2600 mg per day, while men need 3400 mg. How to get it:

5. Green banana smoothie bowl

Green banana smoothie bowl

Maya Visnyei

Bananas, Greek yogurt, kale, and coconut milk (or any plant-based milk you like) combine to make this pretty yogurt bowl. The granola, flaxseed, and apple toppings add fiber, making this a very warm way to start the day.

6. Greek potato salad

Greek potato salad

Nathan Congleton

This potato salad is aromatic and full of vegetables. It also contains protein from hard-boiled eggs, making it perfect as a main salad. It’s one of the Blue Zones author, Dan Buettner’s longevity recipes.

Butternut squash and pumpkin seed yogurt parfait

Frances Largeman-Roth

This unique twist on yogurt parfait combines two foods rich in potassium – butternut squash and yogurt. You also get another heart-healthy nutrient from the pumpkin seeds – niacin.

Joy Bauer's Peach Melba

Kelly Harrison

This sweet dessert is the perfect way to end any meal. If you can’t find fresh peaches, use frozen. Serve over vanilla yogurt instead of ice to make it even healthier.

9. Double orange smoothie

Double orange smoothie

Courtesy Frances Largeman-Roth, RD

This sipper consists of a navel orange (almost always in season from California) and orange juice. It contains over 500 mg of potassium and is a sunny start to the day.

Folic acid

This B vitamin is important for heart health and a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid regulates the level of homocysteine ​​- a marker of heart disease – in the blood. Homocysteine ​​damages the blood vessel walls and can lead to blood clots. Women and men aged 19 and over each need 400 micrograms per day (more is needed during pregnancy). You can find folic acid in fortified cereals, pasta, rice and bread, lentils, spinach, edamame, and wheat germ. Get your folic acid fed up in these recipes:

10. Orecchiette with peas, ricotta and black pepper

Orecchiette with peas, ricotta and black pepper

Stefano Secchi

So bouncy and easy to make that you’ll want to add this to your pasta rotation! Many people are surprised to learn that one serving of fortified semolina pasta makes up 50% of their daily folic acid value.

11. Spiced roasted carrots with lentils

Roasted carrots with lentils

Yossy Arefi / Courtesy Modern Potluck, Clarkson Potter

If you’re looking for a hearty vegan main course, check out this delightful dish. Flavored with coriander, cinnamon, and cumin, these lentils (part of the legume family) are delicious and filling, perfect for making meals for the week.

12. Edamame guacamole

Edamame guacamole

Maya Visnyei

The avocados in this creamy green dip are already good for your heart, but you can make them even better by adding edamame. The soybeans add folic acid as well as fiber to this spicy favorite.

13. Crispy oven-baked chicken tenders

Joy Bauer's crispy oven-baked chicken tenders

Joy Bauer

Wheat germ mix with whole grain bread crumbs to create a flavorful and healthy coating for these delicious tenders that make a great weekday meal for the whole family.


Another B vitamin, niacin, is great for your ticker as it helps increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Women aged 19 and over need 14 mg per day, while men need 16 mg. You can get niacin in avocado, peanut butter, green peas, baked potatoes, and pumpkin seeds. Load up niacin with these dishes:

14. Al’s Garlic Avocado Toast

Al's Garlic Avocado Toast


Avocado toast lovers will be happy! The creamy fruit is a great source of niacin and contains 4.5 grams of heart-healthy fiber in half an avocado.

15. Non-dairy chocolate peanut butter milkshake

Dairy-free chocolate peanut butter milkshake

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

A popular childhood creamy peanut butter makes a healthy addition to smoothies and shakes like this chocolaty version. Combine it with an apple, pear or banana for a hearty afternoon snack.

16. Baked potato

Getty Images

This steakhouse classic is a great choice for your heart – just skip the butter and keep your skin on. One medium baked potato (265 calories) contains 4 mg of niacin to meet your daily needs.

17. Dressing with roasted pumpkin seed salad

Fried pumpkin seed salad dressing

Frances Largeman-Roth / TODAY

Don’t just enjoy these delicious seeds in autumn! Pumpkin seeds are high in niacin and can be used in as many ways as in this flavorful and easy-to-make dressing.


We usually think of calcium to keep our bones strong, but it also plays a role in heart health. Calcium, along with potassium and magnesium, helps regulate blood pressure. And the nutrient also plays a role in weight management which is wise for your heart. Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and other dairy products, almonds, fortified orange juice, and kale. Enjoy these calcium-rich recipes:

18. Healthy pancakes with banana and cottage cheese

Healthy pancakes with banana and cottage cheese

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Cottage cheese is delicious topped with fresh fruit, but it’s also a wonderful addition to those yummy pancakes that add calcium and protein.

19. The Dr. is in smoothie

The Dr.  is in

Frances Largeman-Roth

Start your day with this hearty, plant-based smoothie that balances the earthy notes of kale and watercress with naturally sweet bananas and grapes.

20. Coconut, cherry and almond granola

Coconut, cherry and almond granola

Vallery Lomas / Courtesy of Vallery Lomas

Muesli has got a bad rap because store-bought versions often have too much sugar and oils. But if you do it yourself, you can control what’s inside. It’s easy to prepare and tastes delicious over yogurt or mixed with high-fiber muesli.


While not a nutrient, fiber is an essential part of the diet and one that most of us cannot get enough of. We should be getting 25-34 grams a day, but hectic schedules and processed foods leave us short. But the effects of fiber on heart health – and overall health – should drive us all to include more of it in our diets. Fiber helps us feel full, improves digestion, promotes bowel health, and lowers cholesterol. You get fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Here are some recipes to help you achieve your daily goal:

21. Oatmeal with pears and almonds

Oatmeal with pear and almonds

Frances Largeman-Roth

Start your day with this high fiber breakfast. Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan that helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol). The pear and almonds also contribute fiber.

22. Fried chicken legs over barley and zucchini risotto

Fried chicken legs over barley and zucchini risotto

Real housewives

Whole grain barley also contains beta-glucan and makes a hearty and satisfying risotto.

23. Four-spice pear, apple and blackberry crisp

Four-Spice Pear, Apple and Blackberry Crisp

Shauna server

Three high-fiber fruits combine to create this delicious and healthy crunch.

24. Rainbow quinoa bowl

Rainbow quinoa bowls

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

This bowl has it all! The ancient grain quinoa as well as colorful vegetables and chickpeas – all fiber stars!