Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the United States today. A whopping 40% of Americans will die of malfunction of the heart and/or circulation system, more than any other ailment, including cancer. Men and women, and people of all races are all at risk.

And what, exactly, is heart disease? It begins with plaque - a greasy layer of proteins, fats, immune system cells and other components that accumulate on the inner walls of the coronary arteries. This plaque eventually blocks the arteries, preventing the blood from flowing properly, and depriving the heart muscles of oxygen.

Reducing artery plaque is the best way of preventing heart disease, and the best way of reducing artery plaque is by foods high in saturated fat and animal protein. Indeed, American men almost seventeen times more likely to die of heart disease than Chinese men, who on average eat much less meat. But the body needs protein to sustain life, repair body tissues and promote cell renewal, to manufacture hormones, enzymes and blood cells. Below is a list of alternative protein sources that can help your body remain strong, while fighting heart disease. Consider them edible and nutritious heart supplements.

Soy - Soy protein provides all of the essential amino acids, and is therefore considered a “complete” protein. A versatile food, it can be taken as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, as well as eaten as raw soybean.

Beans/Legumes - Aside from soybeans, other types of beans are rich in protein, as well as fiber and other vitamins and minerals. Fava beans, lentils, and red kidney beans are all good protein sources.

Nuts -  Not only are nuts a good source of protein, they contain the heart-friendly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types of fat, which are known to prevent heart disease and lower total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol while protecting good HDL cholesterol levels.