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Every Valentine’s Day season is filled with an abundance of red and pink heart shaped everything. So maybe this should be a kind reminder to ourselves to take a look at our own heart health and begin to show it some love. Whether you have a strong family history of heart disease or not, you should be striving to take care of this very important organ.
Certain nutrients are very important for a properly functioning heart. One of these major nutrients are essential fatty acids, specifically omega 3s.
Now, they are called essential fatty acids not, because we think it’s an important idea, but because the body is incapable of making them on its own, so it is essential that they are obtained them from the diet.
The typical North American diet going to provides plenty of omega 6 essential fatty acids, which come from fried foods, crackers, cookies and other snacks. These type of foods leave us in an inflammatory state, so we need to balance this effect with the anti-inflammatory action of omega 3 fatty acids.
Now, we do receive small amounts of omega 3’s from our diet, in foods such as nuts and seeds and fatty tissues of cold water fish, but usually not in the amounts needed to balance the omega 6’s.
Taking Can Prev’s Omega Pro provides an easy way to receive the correct daily amount of essential fatty acids. It is formulated with two types of omega 3’s; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and vitamin E is added to prevent degradation of the fish oil.
Another beneficial effect of Omega 3’s is their ability to reduce the viscosity of the blood, similarly to the blood thinning effect of certain medications but without the side effect of disrupting the stomach lining. It can also have a positive effect on a healthy blood lipid profile (eg. cholesterol, LDL and HDL) by reducing plaque build up and allowing for properly flowing blood in the vessels.
There are specific nutrients that are aimed to heal and provide the heart to work optimally. Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol) is a powerful antioxidant, gives energy to the heart muscle cells and helps to lower blood pressure and maintain healthy cholesterol. Infact, pharmaceutical treatments like statins (cholesterol lowering medication) actually lower the level of Coenzyme Q10, leaving a serious deficiency of this important nutrient that is important for the whole body, not just the heart.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant which will relax the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure as a result. Vitamin B12 and folate are also important for certain enzymes in the body that remove homocysteine, an inflammatory marker, from the blood.High levels of homocysteine contributes to plaque build up causing atherosclerosis.
Many studies show that certains herbs are extremely beneficial in improving and maintaining heart health. Garlic extract helps to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels by slowing the platelet aggregation which helps to prevent heart attacks.
Grape seed extract is an extremely rich antioxidant which overall protects the integrity of the inner lining of the blood vessels.
Hawthorn extract is perhaps a little less known, but a powerhouse of an herb in its ability to interact with enzymes in the the heart to increase the pumping force of the heart and eliminate arrhythmias. It dilates the coronary arteries to improve circulation and oxygen levels and it can even improve LDL and HDL levels in the blood, thus decreasing plaque build up.
Can Prev’s Healthy Heart is formulated with all of the above nutrients in therapeutic dosages to help the heart with many complex health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and valve disorders.
Another supplement that was formulated with heart health in mind was Can Prev’s Magnesium + Taurine, B6 and Zinc. Now, it was created for people looking for a magnesium supplement that also provided some cardiovascular support. Taurine acts as an antihypertensive, antiatherogenic and antioxidant to help treat coronary artery disease, ischemia, congestive heart failure and hypertension. Vitamin B6 was added to this formula because it used in the synthesis of taurine.
Besides supplementation, dietary factors are of course important!
An excellent way to start a heart healthy day is with oats. They naturally contain beta-glucan which is a type of fiber that helps reduce cholesterol and boosts the immunity!
Extra virgin olive oil in the amount of 2 tbsp per day can help to lower overall cholesterol and improve one’s overall blood lipid profile. But it is important to use it cold, or adding to food once it is cooked. Olive oil has a low smoking point, so frying, cooking or baking with it can burn this beneficial oil which decreases its phytochemical and antioxidant value.
Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocao) and red wine have benefits too, mainly from their antioxidant properties. But moderation, of course, is key.
And even a consistent amount of exercise such as 20 minutes a day of moving your body, such as walking can help with improving your overall heart health
Hi I am Dr. Laura: mum of 2, Naturopathic Doctor, Health and Wellness Expert, Educator, Speaker, & Entreprenuer