Supplements for a Healthy Heart

Supplements for a Healthy HeartIt’s heart health awareness month–and as with most health-themed months, after a few weeks in, the momentum has lost steam. It’s to be expected; everyone is excited at the start, and then thoughts and energies shift. But I want to revisit this subject again, since taking care of your heart’s health can mean the difference between life and death!

Supplementation is necessary to ensure that we are giving our bodies the nutrients it cannot gain or assimilate from food. The metronome of our lives is the beating of our hearts–and sometimes it needs a boost!

Antioxidants are free radical scavengers that help to reduce premature aging and degenerative disease. Low antioxidant levels (Vitamins A, C and E in particular) are implicated in elevated risk of coronary heart disease. You can find them in supplement form. It’s very important to remember that Vitamin C is water soluble, so it’s worth dividing your supplementation over the day to ensure that you don’t pee half of it out! Vitamins A and E are fat soluble, so they need to be consumed with the presence of fat in order to be efficiently used by the body.

Green Tea extract has been shown to increase the loss of abdominal fat (yay!) and lower serum triglycerides. Those who took green tea extract daily (37mg) experienced decreased blood pressure, insulin levels, and C reactive protein, which is an inflammatory marker for heart disease and  bad cholesterol.

Chocolate, you’ll be glad to hear, is rich in flavanoids that benefit the cardiovascular system. Consuming high-quality chocolate (raw or 70% cacao solids) more than 5 days a week was linked to a 57% reduction in heart disease risk. Dark, high-quality chocolate has also been shown to improve insulin resistance, reduce blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels.

Heart disease is named the silent killer because you may have no idea that you have it until you have a heart attack or stroke. Decrease your risk by living a healthy life full of high-quality foods, exercise, and important supplements mentioned above!

Photo credit: By John Loo (Flickr: Chocolate) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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