NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Everyone has a different suggestion of what you should eat to prevent heart disease, the number one killer of Americans. It can be confusing, and even more confusing is how the answer from experts seems to keep changing.

A few things don’t change, though, if you want to prevent heart disease. First, don’t smoke and be physically active. Where it gets confusing is what to eat and what not to eat, but new research seems to reveal the bottom line.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a must for a healthy diet, both to prevent heart disease and cancer. Then there’s the overall rules of thumb to keep in mind for all your eating.

“Before you reach for a box or a package of microwaveable something or other, just try your best to eat the unprocessed and minimally processed version of plant foods and limit the animal products if consuming them at all,” Dr. Andrew Freeman from National Jewish Health said. The recommendations come from a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology which found that consuming unsweetened coffee tea, and even low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol can be good for your heart.

Dr. Freeman lead the research, and says it’s best to steer clear of anything with added sugar. Go easy on butter and cheese, which are both a major source of salt and artery clogging saturated fat in the American diet.

“When you go out to dinner, not only do they put cheese on the bread, they bring out butter, they add more cheese, and before long you have five, six servings of dairy at dinner,” Dr. Freeman said. “That’s a harmful way to eat.”

Legumes and beans are a great source of complex carbohydrates and protein. Fish and fish oil capsules are good sources of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but some can be high in heavy metals so read the label.

When it comes to red meats, it’s best to keep it to small and only occasional portions.

There’s growing evidence that seaweed and fermented food like kimchi can be beneficial to your heart, but most vitamin supplements aren’t worth the money unless you know you’re deficient in a vitamin.


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