Heart disease or cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in America. However, there is a growing evidence that heart disease can be prevented or even reversed. Lifestyle and dietary changes can play a vital role in fighting atherosclerosis, the most common underlying cause of heart disease.
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries narrow and harden due to an excessive buildup of plaque around the artery wall. It may lead to complete blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle itself causing a heart attack.
While lifestyle and dietary changes are important, here are some nutritional supplements that could decrease your risk of developing heart disease.
1) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chronic inflammation of the arteries contributes to heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and bring down triglyceride (bad) cholesterol levels. High levels of triglycerides are linked to diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Studies show that high consumption of fish oil supplements supply us with omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic) is linked to better fat levels in the blood, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of death from heart disease. Research has found that taking two to four grams of fish oil per day can help.[1,2]
2) Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (also called CoQ10) is an important compound that plays a vital role in the cells’ ability to extract energy from food. Although it is produced naturally in the body, its levels decline with age. The use of statin drugs (drugs given to lower cholesterol) also depleted CoQ10 levels.
The heart needs a constant supply of these nutrients so that it can get the required energy to do its work. Rhabdomyolysis, a muscle-wasting condition linked to statin-induced depletion of CoQ10, can be caused by prolonged use of statin drugs.
Supplementing with CoQ10 can independently lower blood pressure and improve heart function of those suffering from heart disease and high cholesterol. Its high antioxidant status makes it safe to use and it is well-tolerated by the body.[3,4,5]
3) Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
The antioxidants present in pomegranate juice can help reverse atherosclerosis and lower blood pressure. It has been consumed for centuries to improve heart health.[6,7,8]
4) Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green tea has a potent antioxidant, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that is known to prevent cancer. Its powerful antioxidant effect also helps protect the heart. Studies show that consumption of two to three cups of green tea per day can help prevent heart disease. Green tea extract is also available as a supplement.[9,10]
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7. Aviram M, Rosenblat M. Pomegranate for Your Cardiovascular Health. Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal. 2013;4(2):e0013. doi:10.5041/RMMJ.10113.
8. Aviram M, Rosenblat M. Pomegranate Protection against Cardiovascular Diseases. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2012;2012:382763. doi:10.1155/2012/382763.
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