Eating a heart-healthy diet

(CNN) -- Focusing on your heart starts with what you eat.

"A high fiber diet is very good for your heart," says Elyse Sartor, a clinical outpatient dietitian with Northside Hospital.

Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas are full of soluble fiber, acting like a sponge to soak up the bad LDL cholesterol.

"Your raw vegetables, your cooked vegetables are also going to be good for fiber. You don't find any fiber in animal products. So, a heart healthy diet is going to be lots and lots of plants," Sartor says.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are full of potassium, magnesium and calcium. These mighty minerals help regulate your blood pressure.

Both olive oil and avocados are great sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, which keep your bad LDL cholesterol levels in check and promote good HDL cholesterol levels.

Fatty fish like salmon is packed with long-chain omega-3s. These compounds help lower blood pressure, make blood less likely to clot, and keep blood vessels healthy.

But balance is key, so don't focus on eating one or two healthy foods and ignore the rest of your diet.