Heart health month and awareness continues, and since heart disease is still the number one killer of both men and women in America, you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid it. Among other things, that includes nourishing your heart with these nutrients:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Most people are already aware of the benefits of getting enough omega-3s in their diet, including that they support heart health. Found in fish oils, flaxseed, chia seed, algae oils, walnuts and more, omega-3s are a cornerstone to a healthy heart. They support healthy levels of cholesterol, while reducing triglyceride levels. They also help with healthy levels of inflammation in the body, which is a huge plus for heart health and overall health, for that matter.
Coconut Oil: The lauric acid found in the healthy saturated fat of coconut oil helps to support healthy cholesterol levels—leading to heart health. In fact, coconut oil helps cholesterol levels by converting cholesterol to pregnenolone, which is a precursor to many of the hormones in our bodies. This assists proper hormone balance and thyroid health, which also can directly affect cholesterol levels.
Coenzyme Q10: Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is found naturally in the body and is necessary for basic cell functioning. Studies point to CoQ10 helping support the heart in these areas: heart failure, high cholesterol, heart damage from chemotherapy, heart surgery, high blood pressure and more. For those taking statins for high cholesterol, CoQ10 may help avoid muscle pains or liver damage occurring with statin use. Likewise, statin use is associated with blocking the natural formation of CoQ10 in muscle cells, which, of course, includes the heart, since the heart is a muscle. That’s why some experts suggest CoQ10 for statin users.
B Vitamins: B vitamins, especially vitamin B3 or niacin, may offer heart health support. Niacin has been shown to help with supporting healthy cholesterol levels while lowering triglycerides. B-complex vitamins, including B6, B12 and folic acid, can help keep nerves and red blood cells healthy, and may also lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that may be linked to heart disease, blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. B6, in particular, has been noted to metabolize homocysteine into the harmless amino acid cysteine.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because it assists with healthy inflammation levels in the body.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in the body, thereby neutralizing free radicals, which is good for health, including heart health. Vitamin E has also been noted to slow the process of plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to heart unhealth.
Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant benefiting overall health and fighting off free radicals, vitamin C helps to stave off damage to arteries by helping to build collagen.
Zinc: Zinc? Yes; zinc. As a necessary part of maintaining the normal structure and physiology of cells, zinc can help protect against heart disease and other heart anomalies. Zinc also plays a significant role in maintaining healthy inflammation levels in the body.
Be heart smart. Make sure your heart is well nourished.