8 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy Through Nutrition – Part 1

8 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy Through Nutrition – Part 1

ingredients on cutting board

Welcome to National Heart Month! A month dedicated to heart health, prevention, and protection. With Cardiovascular Disease continuing to be the number once cause of death in the United States and affecting over 26 million Americans, we’re focusing this week on 4 nutritional components that can help protect your heart!

Before we dive into some key nutrients, I want us to first think about the why behind this “silent killer.” As previously stated, CVD is still the number one cause of death in the United States, with 1 in 3 American adults having some form of CVD and killing over 600,000 people per year. Why is this preventable disease continuing to grow and suck away more billions of dollars? Is it genetics? Environment? Biochemistry? Or is it the combination of all of them, in addition to the increase of stress of everyday life? According to research, it’s the interplay between them all. Genetics and biochemistry may be just a bit more difficult to alter, therefore, we’re focusing on a few specific nutrients that can easily be added to your everyday routine which have be proven to be heart protective.

  • CoQ10– CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and toxic superoxides. Our bodies produce it naturally in the mitochondria of each cell, however, it can be depleted from various factors such as drugs (statins), age, and oxidative stress. Research suggest that CoQ10 may have significant cardiovascular protective effects by increasing HDL levels, lowering inflammatory biomarkers, decreasing muscle symptoms from statin use, and lowering blood pressure. Foods with higher levels of CoQ10 include organ meats, such as liver or kidneys; as well as sardines mackerel, chick, cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus. It also may be taken in the supplemental form as ubiquinol, which has the potential for greater absorption. (Ubiquinol)
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids– Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat which have been shown to be protect the heart and blood vessels by reducing triglycerides, reducing the risk of an irregular heart beat, slowing the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and helping to lower blood pressure. It must be consumed through diet or supplementation as they are essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may be consumed through fishes such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, trout, and sardines, or supplemented with an Omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplement. (Omegemulse)
  • Vitamin D– Vitamin D plays a huge role in the body by acting as a hormone, regulating more than 200 genes throughout the body. Research shows that vitamin D has a huge contribution in protecting the heart by lowering blood pressure, increasing insulin sensitivity, decreasing inflammation, as well as other fundamental processes that underlie heart disease. Exposure to sunlight for 10-15 minutes allows our bodies to produce vitamin d naturally or it may be consumed as a dietary supplement which will allow for higher dosing. (D-Emulse 2000)
  • Magnesium– Magnesium is a mineral that is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and critical for nerve transmission, muscle contractions, blood coagulation, energy product, nutrient metabolism, as well as bone and cell formation. Numerous studies have shown that magnesium deficiencies increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, therefore supplementation can be beneficial to prevent arrhythmias, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and endothelial dysfunction. Natural sources of magnesium are found in foods such as avocados, spinach, broccoli, bananas, navy beans, and green leafy vegetables. For higher amounts and potentially greater absorption, magnesium may also be taken in a supplemental form.

Is your doctor testing you for these key nutrients? Maybe vitamin D but many of these nutrients are ignored in the routine or annual office visit. At Living Health Integrative Medicine we run tests that can determine the level of these nutrients plus many more. These test results play an important role in determining the supplement regimen for each individual patient.

Increasing these four key nutrients/mineral will help to keep a strong, healthy heart and decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Learn about four more key nutrient for a healthy heart 

Need a heart healthy recipe? Try this heart healthy blueberry salmon.