Current Minimum Daily Requirements of Heart Saving SupplementsWe're learning more all the time about how to keep our hearts healthy so that we can live better, longer lives. For some people, medications are required to control conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol, or heart disease, but most of us can see a huge change in heart health simply by changing what we eat. To a degree, this is the same advice Mom gave us as kids—eat your vegetables, don't forget fiber, and don't go crazy with the cream sauces. In-depth research, however, has been able to provide more specific advice about nutrients needed for heart health.
Best Supplements, Vitamins and Minerals for Your Heart
Though many of these nutrients and supplements necessary for heart health are ones that we're already aware of, doctors and researchers are finding that we may not be getting enough of them. Research indicates that if we were to double our magnesium intake, for example, we would see a massive decrease in the rate of heart attacks. Magnesium not only helps to control blood pressure, but it can also prevent heart attacks by blocking the calcium that may trigger muscle spasms of the heart. Green leafy vegetables, grains, and nuts are all good sources of magnesium.
Heart-smart nutrition has to include more than just magnesium, though. Here’s a list of supplements and nutrients that can fight heart disease.
- B-vitamins: Folic acid, B3, B6, and B12 all play important roles in heart health by lowering levels of homocysteine, a chemical in the body that promotes clots, weakens blood vessels, and leads to heart disease. Fruits and veggies like oranges, broccoli, and spinach all have lots of folic acid. B6 is a little bit harder to get, but it can be found in baked potatoes, watermelon, and bananas. B12 and B3 are found in eggs, cheese, and poultry.
- Fish Oils: In recent years, fish oils have been recognized as a great nutrient for heart health. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, and stop the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries. These oils are readily available in capsule form, or in many kinds of fatty fish like tuna and salmon.
- Potassium: This nutrient plays a major role in regulating blood pressure, but many people simply don't eat enough of it. Increase your potassium intake by eating potatoes, bananas, peaches, and apricots.
- Fiber: There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, like oats, beans, and apples, can reduce levels of bad cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, including many whole grains and vegetables, can help prevent heart disease, or slow its progress.
These great nutrients for heart health will help keep your heart going strong. Including these heart-smart supplements and minerals in your diet can improve heart health and overall well-being. For ideas about how to incorporate these foods into your diet, check out the American Heart Association’s nutritional suggestions and meal plans.