Heart diseases have emerged as one of the largest killers around the world and it includes a wide range of problems that are caused by increased level of cholesterol in the blood, inflammation and stiffening of arteries and blood vessels, plaque buildup in the arteries and increased blood clotting.
But thankfully, all these are healable problems that can be treated by following a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a diet rich in foods that help in preventing heart diseases.
What Are The Major Causes Of Heart Disease ?
The chief reason for heart diseases is an unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise and overdependence on unhealthy processed and junk foods that raise blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Some of the main causes of heart disease are as follows:
- Increased Stress
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption
- High Level of Cholesterol in Blood
- Blood Vessel Inflammation
Best Nutrients For Improving Cardiovascular Health
A well-balanced and healthy diet for heart should include all the essential nutrients that not only help in proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, but also aids in reducing hypertension, high level of cholesterol and diabetes – some of the major reasons for heart diseases.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The benefits of omega 3 fatty acids for health need no new emphasis. Fish oil omega 3 not only improves cardiovascular heath of healthy individuals, it also preserves the heart health of those suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
It helps in lowering the level of harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglycerides that blocks the arteries and lead to stroke and heart attack.
It also controls hypertension, normalizes irregular heart beat and risk of blood clotting thereby improving overall cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death.
Oily fish such as salmon, sardine, mackerel, etc. are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. Some of the plant-based sources of omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, canola oil, olive oil, etc.
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for heart health. The benefits of Vitamin D for improving overall health are well known. Deficiency of vitamin D has also been shown to increase the risk of heart diseases, increased blood pressure and diabetes.
Administering vitamin D through optimum exposure to sunlight or through foods can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D and therefore it is suggested to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun on a daily basis. Some of the food-based sources of vitamin D are dairy products, soy milk, orange juice, egg yolk, organ meat, fortified cereals, etc.
Coenzyme Q10 or Coq 10 is a powerful energy booster, and it also functions as one of the most effective nutritional supplements to preserve and improve cardiovascular health.
It helps in treating heart diseases such as chest pain, angina, high blood pressure and coronary heart diseases.
It prevents stiffness of arteries and increases the elasticity of blood vessel walls and lowers the level of unhealthy cholesterol in the blood.
The best way to utilize the benefits of Coq10 is through supplements, but it can also be derived from foods such as oily fishes like salmon, tuna and mackerel, beef, chicken, organ meat, peanuts, pistachios, soybean and canola oil.
B vitamins such as vitamin B3 also known as niacin is an integral part of any heart-healthy diet. It helps in improving the level of heart-healthy HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and decreasing the level of harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood. It also helps in lowering the level of triglycerides.
It improves blood circulation throughout the body by dilating the blood vessels thus aiding optimum supply of oxygen and nutrients to each and every part of the body. It also helps in controlling high blood sugar and neutralizes arterial damage caused by inflammation associated to diabetes.
Some of the food sources of vitamin B3 are chicken and turkey, beef, organ meat, oily fish, peanuts, green peas, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, broccoli, legumes, etc.
Potassium is one of the most essential nutrients for a healthy heart. It is the basis of heart beat that helps in pumping blood throughout the body. It helps in treating high blood pressure, normalizing irregular heartbeat, and lowering cholesterol in the blood.
It works by balancing the level of sodium in the body that increases fluid retention that in turn raises blood pressure. It also improves the flexibility and elasticity of the arteries.
Fruits and leafy vegetables are the best sources of potassium. Other sources of potassium include white beans, raisins, dried apricots, yogurt, mushrooms, avocados, etc.
Plant sterols and stanols are naturally occurring compounds found in foods. These sterols and stanols form an important part of a heart-healthy diet because they help in lowering the level of cholesterol absorbed from food and reduce the risk of developing heart diseases.
They work by preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine that in turn reduces the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol while keeping the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol unchanged.
Plant sterols and stanols are available as supplements, and it can also be derived from foods such as nuts, legumes, grains, seeds, fruits and vegetables, fortified foods, etc.
Magnesium is a vital nutrient for maintaining heart health, and a deficiency of this mineral can lead to coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Magnesium helps in relaxing muscles and blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
It reduces the level of total LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood and increases the level of healthy HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. It also prevents hardening of arteries and plaque buildups in arteries.
Some of the food sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, whole grains, dairy products, dried fruits and raisins, etc.
Vitamin E is one of the most potent vitamins for a healthy heart. The uses of vitamin E for health are well known. It functions as a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart muscles, arteries and blood vessels against inflammation, free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Administering vitamin E in the form of supplements has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by almost 50%. It also helps in controlling the level of glucose in the blood and treating diabetes.
Some of the food sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, tofu, almonds, sunflower seeds, shellfish, squash, pumpkins, fortified cereals, etc.
Include these essential nutrients in your daily diet and protect your heart against the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure in a natural and effective manner.