The heart is an amazing organ that continuously pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body to sustain life. Did you know that your amazing heart pumps around 7,500 liters of blood and beats approximately 115,000 per day? In one year, the heart pumps approximately 2.77 million liters of blood!
Multiply those numbers by a lifetime and we begin to grasp how imperative it is to maintain a healthy heart regimen by eating the right foods, exercising, and supplementation. In fact, certain nutrients can positively influence blood pressure, triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. It is important to consult with your primary healthcare practitioner when adding anything new into your diet, especially if you are taking prescription medications.
Let’s explore the Top 5 Nutrients supported by research to maximize your heart health:
Hawthorn (Crataegus species) has been used to treat heart disease as far back as the 1st century. By the early 1800s, American doctors were using it to treat circulatory disorders and respiratory illnesses. (1)
Hawthorn leaves and berries contain potent antioxidants known as bioflavonoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and procyanidins. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, protect blood vessels from damage, improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. (2)
Studies have also supported the use of hawthorn for centuries as a digestive aid. Its fiber and pre-biotic content have been shown to aid digestion by reducing the transit time of food in the digestive system while feeding the healthy gut bacteria that are vital to maintaining a healthy digestive tract. (3)
The recommended dose for healing, also known as Therapeutic Range, is between 300 – 750 mg. Possible interactions may occur when taking certain prescription blood pressure and blood thinning medications and supplementing with Hawthorn. Remember to always consult a trusted healthcare provider before adding supplements to your diet. (4)
Motherwort, also referred to as Lion’s Tail, has been utilized for centuries as a medicinal herb to treat heart disease as well as other physical and emotional conditions like menstrual distress, anxiety, and depression. (5)
In recent years, scientific evidence further supports the use of motherwort for heart conditions including heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and heart symptoms caused by anxiety. This is due in part to its numerous plant-based compounds, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties including flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes, tannins, and alkaloids. For example, leonurine, an alkaloid compound found in motherwort, promotes the relaxation of blood vessel walls. (6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)
Countries such as Germany have authorized the use of motherwort for the treatment of heart palpitations, anxiety, nervous disorders, and overactive thyroid, a condition that also causes irregular heartbeats. (12)
Herbalists consider motherwort to be a great herb for supporting a healthy parasympathetic nervous system. The American Pharmacopoeia considers it a herb utilized for “gladdening and strengthening the heart.” The recommended Therapeutic Range is between 250-500mg per day. (13)
CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is a nutrient you don’t want to miss! Studies show its health benefits include treatment of heart disease, cancer, and neurological diseases such as Parkinson.
CoQ10 plays a vital role in supporting and improving the function of the mitochondria, which is essential for energy production in the body. In fact, the heart muscle is known to have the most mitochondria per cell.
The body makes its own CoQ10, however, its production declines as we age. Factors that inhibit the production of CoQ10, include stress, illness, and the use of pharmaceutical medications such as cholesterol-blocking drugs like statins.
Deficiency in CoQ10 has been associated with physical and mental fatigue, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and retina and neurological conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, supplementation of CoQ10 could help to alleviate these health conditions as well as signs of aging. When supplementing with CoQ10, the recommended Therapeutic Range is 100 – 400 mg per day. (14)(15)
Magnesium is an essential mineral that we can’t live without. According to research, it is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including energy metabolism, nerve and muscle function, blood sugar regulation, and protein synthesis. (16)
The heart relies on magnesium to sustain a healthy heart rhythm and aids in activating mitochondrial energy production. Magnesium works together with calcium in order to contract and relax the heart muscle thereby creating a heartbeat. While calcium stimulates the muscle fibers of the heart, magnesium allows the fibers of the muscle to relax. (17)(18)
Aside from its necessary role in cardiovascular health, research shows that magnesium assists to improve depression, inflammation, insulin resistance, blood pressure, athletic performance and is also known to aid premenstrual syndrome in women. (19)(20)(21)(22)(23)
A deficiency in magnesium may result in abnormal heart rhythms, fatigue and weakness, hypocalcemia, loss of appetite, muscle cramps and contractions, nausea and vomiting, or numbness. Therapeutic Range for magnesium is 700-1100 mg per day. Some excellent organic food sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, green beans, and black beans.
Have you ever heard the saying “There is no such thing as too much garlic?” That’s because mankind has relied on garlic for thousands of years as a nutritional and medicinal food source. It is mentioned in legends, folklore, modern science, and even documented as a food source prescribed by Hippocrates for its ability to protect against everything from common colds, metabolic conditions, liver disorders, poor digestion, intestinal worms, fever, and heart disease. (24)
One of garlic’s secret ingredients is a natural compound called allicin, which becomes activated when garlic is cut, chewed, or mashed. Research shows that allicin along with other compounds found in garlic relax blood vessels, prevent cell damage, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, regulate cholesterol levels, and have anti-inflammatory effects which assist in lowering blood pressure. In addition to its heart healthy benefits, garlic contains trace minerals including copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium, all necessary for healthy metabolic functions. (25)(26)(27)
A great daily regimen is garlic marinated in honey. Take one teaspoon daily for its heart healthy properties and your immune system will thank you too! If you are still hesitant to use this nutritious food source because it can create bad breath, try drinking lemon water afterwards. That should stop the garlic breath! (28)
In addition to enhancing your diet with these nutrients, here are a few simple things you can add to your lifestyle to establish heart healthy habits:
M. Moriah Mor, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, is the owner of GreenSilk.com. The company is committed to helping individuals live a healthier lifestyle through education, nutrition, the research of life science, and the development of Professional High-Grade Premium health products.
Recognized for her outstanding dedication and contributions to the health and wellness industry for more than 18 years, Moriah is a graduate of the Energetic Health Institute and the University of Southern California. Her interest is focused on researching the latest scientific breakthroughs in the holistic health field. She is currently working toward her Doctorate in Natural Medicine.
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