One of the most important organs of the body is the heart. Complications related to the heart can be lethal. Medical professionals pay much attention in educating patients on lifestyle and dietary best practices to ensure the organ functions optimally and doesn’t succumb to disease. Every year, over 73,000 people die from coronary heart disease in the UK alone. One of the popular ways of promoting heart health is through the use of vitamins and minerals.
A study showed that calcium supplement can be counterproductive in maintaining the heart in men who took about 1000 milligrams of it daily over a period of 12 years. Further studies also revealed that people who take a considerable amount of vitamins especially C, E, and vitamin B (B12, B6, and folic acid) have healthy hearts. A majority of the research effort which has gone into the role of vitamins and minerals in heart health have reported that they contribute significantly to maintaining a healthy heart. However, some vitamins and minerals are more effective than the others. Here are some of the best vitamins and minerals to incorporate into your diet today for a healthy heart.
A healthy heart has to pump blood steadily. This means you have to ensure your heart maintains a certain average of beats per minute. To do that, your heart needs a constant supply of calcium through the nerves surrounding it. Vitamin D ensures your heart gets that required level of calcium. Basically, vitamin D promotes effective communication between your heart and these surrounding nerves. Therefore, for a healthy blood pressure, one needs lots of vitamin D.
A vitamin D deficiency can expose the heart to a myriad of risks. Naturally, one gets a sufficient amount of this vitamin through exposure to the sun. However, obesity and little or no exposure to the sun for can lead to a deficiency. In such cases, it is recommended that the person resort to taking vitamin D supplements. It is important to know that vitamin D’s influence on the heart is not direct. But the number of reports which show a link between a sufficient presence of the vitamin and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases cannot be ignored.
Potassium has been known to be helpful in the maintenance of a healthy heart. It helps in the regulation of blood pressure. But what may not be so popular about this mineral is that, like vitamin D, they help in nerve transmission which means that for an optimal functioning of the nerves surrounding the heart, one needs a good daily dose of potassium. It is pretty easy to be rich in potassium as most fruits have a good amount of it, especially bananas. Potatoes contain a large amount of potassium. Potassium is also available in the form of supplement.
Potassium deficiency can be crippling to the heart as it leads to chronic blood pressure and hypertension; both of which are fatal to the heart. An adult human needs at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium in order to get the full benefits especially in regulating the effect of sodium in the body.
Magnesium contributes to maintaining a healthy heart as it assists in the regulation of the blood pressure. Therefore, if you are in the habit of consuming salty food which contains a high amount of sodium (which is risky to the heart), sufficient intake of magnesium can help mitigate the effect of sodium. There are multiple natural sources of magnesium, such as green vegetables (spinach, legume, broccoli, sunflower seeds, and so on).
Generally, it ensures the smooth functioning of the muscles of the body which the heart is a part of. That is why many dieticians recommend an increase in the intake of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure, which can be damaging to the heart. A sufficient amount of this mineral in the body also reduces the risks of not only heart failure, but stroke too.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health in a lot of ways. They help reduce heart inflammation and maintain a proper blood pressure for the smooth functioning of the heart. Unlike most other minerals, they help in preventing clot formation in the heart. Recent studies have shown that people who eat sea-derived foods containing omega-3 acids are less likely to experience coronary heart diseases than their counterparts.
However, it is easy for one to lack enough of these fatty acids since the body does not produce it and the foods they are contained in aren’t commonly available. There are oils available in the market which can provide you with enough of them. When incorporating omega-3 fatty acid rich foods in your diet, ensure that they are the healthy kind types as some are actually counterproductive in the maintenance of a healthy heart.
This is commonly referred to as vitamin B3 and it is an important vitamin when it comes to heart health. The great news is that they are easy to find. Every vitamin-fortified food contains a significant amount. It is a great choice of vitamin to have in one’s diet if the goal is to maintain a healthy heart as they assist in the reduction of the LDL cholesterol level in the body while increasing the body’s HDL cholesterol level. Apart from that, niacin promotes healthy nervous system and metabolism. Sufficient intake of vitamin B3 reduces the triglycerides in the body which are bad for the heart.
While calcium is needed for the effective functioning of the nerves surrounding the heart, there is need to prevent their deposition in the arteries. This is where vitamin K comes in as it helps in making sure calcium doesn’t get dumped in the blood vessels. Studies have connected a healthy heart functioning with a sufficient amount of vitamin K in the body. Medical professionals recommend a regular intake of vitamin K2 which is the preferred form of vitamin K. It effectively stiffens the arteries and promotes muscular elasticity.
Folic acid, which is also called vitamin B9, is one of the vitamins responsible for the maintenance of a healthy heart. It regulates the homocysteine level in the body. This is the amino acid responsible for blood clot. It is an easy vitamin to find as it is found in broccolis, Brussels sprouts, lentils, and so on.
A balanced diet that is rich in all these essential vitamins and minerals is a great way to maintain a functioning heart. However, proper maintenance of the heart requires a reduction in the intake of trans fats. A healthy eating habit and regular exercise are recommended to keep your heart in a good state.