As the year winds down, many are making resolutions for the new year. Why not make your heart health your priority for the coming year?
If you're concerned about the health of your heart now and for the long term, there are certain supplements and dietary changes that have shown promise in supporting heart function.
Supplements to Try
While no supplement has been proven to 100 percent prevent heart disease or other medical issues, they can help when part of a healthy lifestyle (more on that later). Here are five supplements worth trying to support heart health:
-- Aged garlic extract (AGE or Kyolic) is rich in antioxidants that protect the cells of the heart against the damage of free radicals. Garlic
may also help prevent cholesterol synthesis to promote healthy cholesterol levels and have anti-inflammatory properties. These benefits were examined in a 2006 study
published in The journal of nutrition
and conducted at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
is another potent antioxidant that may prevent the heart from becoming damaged, leading to heart disease. A 2012 study
published in the Journal of cardiovascular disease research
and conducted at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found CoQ10, when taken at a dose of 120 mg with 1,200 mg of AGE, slowed the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and improved inflammatory markers.
3. Fish Oil
-- Fish oil
is rich in essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, which are considered "good fats." A 2007 study
conducted at the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre in Australia and published in The American journal of clinical nutrition
found daily consumption of fish oil, when combined with regular exercise, could help overweight individuals with high cholesterol bring their numbers within a desired range.
-- Derived from red grapes, resveratrol
functions as an antioxidant within the body as well, preventing oxidative stress from taking its toll. A 2012 animal study
published in the journal Critical care medicine
and conducted at the Nanfang Hospital at Southern Medial University in China found resveratrol inhibited the damage caused by fractalkine, a polypeptide, which negatively impacts coronary artery disease. It also helped reduce cardiac remodeling, or a change in the shape or structure of the heart.
5. Psyllium Husk
is a great source of natural fiber, which expands within the gut to promote proper digestion and keep you feeling full. It's also been studied for its role in lowering cholesterol. A 2000 study
conducted at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and published in The American journal of clinical nutrition
found 10.2 g of daily psyllium husk supplements helped lower cholesterol levels in men and women who also followed a low-fat diet.
More studies are needed on human subjects to determine the exact actions and benefits of these supplements, but the results of these studies are promising. As with any supplement, speak with your doctor before adding any of these products to your routine, especially if you're being treated for a medical condition, have heart disease or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Follow dosage instructions carefully and report any adverse side effects to your doctor. Don't stop taking any of your prescribed medications without first consulting your physician.
The Heart Healthy Diet
Your diet can either make or break your heart health and it's all about being proactive for prevention. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Keep your diet as natural as possible and limit your consumption of fast foods or processed meals and snacks.
Try doing all of your shopping and prep work or cooking on one day to make packing lunches and eating sensible meals that much easier.
If you do eat out, don't be afraid to ask questions about how the food is prepared and make substitutions.
Maintain a diet low in saturated and trans fats . When grocery shopping, look for lean proteins and sources of essential fatty acids.
Fill up on lots of fruits and vegetables, making sure to shop the entire rainbow.
Lower your salt intake, as large amounts of sodium can increase blood pressure.
If you have a sweet tooth, go for dark chocolate, which is naturally rich in antioxidants. Enjoy some dark chocolate chips with almonds to get antioxidants and healthy fats.
Swap out the white flour for whole or sprouted grains. These grains will provides you with fiber and additional nutrients that are good for the heart. They'll also help you feel full and energized longer between meals.
There are other ways to protect the health of your heart beyond what you eat, drink or take. Here are some suggestions to help you better make your heart health a priority in your daily life:
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Limit your consumption of alcohol.
Get plenty of sleep. Seven to nine hours each night.
Reduce stress as much as possible.
Have regular physicals and pay attention to how you feel.
You can find these supplements and more at eVitamins. Shop today to look after your heart now and for years to come. Have a great week!