prevention

4 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro July 19, 2012
  • The right nutrients can play a big part in preventing heart disease.  Here are four you should include in your daily diet.

     

    Coenzyme Q10


    Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is a powerful antioxidant and is responsible for carrying the electrons back and forth between enzymes in the production of energy in our bodies. Coenzyme Q10 also removes many free radicals from circulation. It is these free radicals that lead to oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol) and the subsequent chain of events that can lead to heart disease.

     

    In fact, research has found that individuals with heart disease have deficient levels of coenzyme Q10. It’s also important to know that statin medications can interfere with the production of coenzyme Q10.  If you take a statin medication, it’s often recommended that you supplement coenzyme Q10.

     

    Good dietary sources of coenzyme Q10 are ocean salmon, sardines, almonds, spinach, avocado and certain meats, such as chicken liver.  

     

    Vitamin D


    Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the body from sunlight. Vitamin D improves the body’s absorption of calcium, helps the pancreas release insulin, stimulates bone mineralization, and is necessary for blood clotting and thyroid function.

     

    Research has shown that vitamin D deficiency can affect heart disease risk, specifically blood pressure levels, coronary artery disease, and insulin resistance.

     

    Good dietary sources of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, milk, eggs, mushrooms, and beef liver.

     

    Omega 3 Fatty Acids


    Omega 3s are essential fatty acids necessary for cardiovascular health. The term “essential” means they are not nutrients that can be produced by the body. You must consume them in your diet. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids:

    • Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
    • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
    • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

    Different foods contain different types of omega 3s. For example, flaxseed is a rich source of ALA, while fish, such as salmon, is rich in DHA.


    Omega 3 fatty acids help many functions within the body. These include reduced inflammation, decreased arrhythmias, enhanced insulin function, decreased arterial plaque buildup, lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and less “sticky” blood to protect against clotting.

      

    Resveratrol


    Resveratrol is a plant substance that provides many health benefits. It has been found to decrease platelet stickiness, decrease inflammation, inhibit LDL oxidation and increase nitric oxide levels to open arteries for improved blood flow.


    Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes; other sources include peanuts and berries.