Your Heart Health Toolbox
If you're concerned about heart health, and who isn't these days, then you should know about all the ways you can keep your heart and cardiovascular system strong, healthy, and working properly.
A healthy diet and active lifestyle are clearly great ways to keep your heart happy, but what exactly does that mean? Eating a high fiber diet, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables and exercising at least 30 minutes most days of the week are all great ways to keep your heart strong. So are limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, and avoiding hydrogenated oils and sugars.
But there's even more to good nutrition; in fact, there are supplements that provide added benefits when taken alone and even in conjunction with each other. Good nutrition begins with understanding the complementary nutrients that can affect your heart health.
Each of the nutrients detailed below help in different ways, for instance by affecting cardiovascular health, providing antioxidant support and contributing to cholesterol maintenance, and some gain even greater benefits when used in conjunction with each other.**
Your Cheat Sheet;
Here are Five Different Nutrients to Help Your Heart**
1. Omega-3 fatty acids, naturally found in fish oil, are considered one of the “good” fats and help balance the “bad” fats in your diet.** Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to normal cell growth and help maintain a healthy heart.** Two of the most studied and recognized omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), so look for these when researching dietary supplements. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.◊
2. Coenzyme Q-10 is another important weapon for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.** Co Q-10 appears naturally in almost every cell of the body, and is, among other things, an important antioxidant. Co Q-10 also supports energy production within the heart, brain and muscles.** It is believed that Co Q-10 levels within cells may be affected by age, exercise, and environmental stressors. Plays nicely with: Vitamin E. Co Q-10 complements vitamin E by promoting the recycling of this vitamin in the body.**
3. Foods containing phytosterols have been identified as one of the active components that are believed to contribute to the cholesterol supportive and heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet.**
Plant stanols/sterols are one of the recommended additions to help maintain cholesterol levels already within a normal range if diet and exercise alone have not achieved desired results.** Plus, scientific evidence demonstrates that diets that include phytosterols may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.***
4. Vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin, is known for its antioxidant properties.** Vitamin C helps maintain normal blood flow in the cardiovascular system through its involvement with nitric oxide synthesis.** While many animals can produce their own vitamin C, humans cannot. It is believed by some scientists that humans lost the ability to produce vitamin C many years ago because vitamin C containing fruits and vegetables were so abundant in nature. Plays nicely with: Vitamin E. Vitamin C works synergistically with vitamin E, allowing vitamin E’s antioxidant properties to be maintained.**
5. And finally, the much talked about Vitamin E. As mentioned, Vitamin E is another antioxidant, plus an essential nutrient crucial for good health.** As an antioxidant, vitamin E is a free radical scavenger and supports healthy heart function and the health of your cardiovascular system.** Plus, its natural ability to work well with other nutrients makes it an easy choice when selecting it as a heart health supplement.**
Used independently or in conjunction with each other, these nutrients supplement your diet and lifestyle choices and may be the tools necessary for your goal of maintaining a healthy heart.
◊See supplement facts panel for omega-3 content. See nutrition information for total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol content.
***Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 2 g per day of plant sterols eaten with meals or snacks may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of Phytosterol Complex supplies 0.5 g of plant sterols.