Tree nuts, such as cashews, help lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol.
Beans, such as garbanzos, provide soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
The cacao in dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which promote healthy blood circulation, and polyphenols, which reduce inflammation and risk of atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries).
Sugar raises blood pressure and levels of triglyceride (a type of fat found in your blood), leading to weight gain and increasing your heart disease risk.
Saturated fat increases blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to atherosclerosis.
High-sodium diets are blamed for high blood pressure -- a major risk factor for heart disease.