With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s hard for any of us to escape heart-shaped chocolate boxes and huge stuffed animals lining department and grocery stores all around the country. Valentine’s Day is typically about treating loved ones, but have you ever stopped to think about yourself during the holiday? I’m not talking about taking yourself out for a nice dinner alone; I’m talking about treating your heart.
The human heart is an amazing organ. The first heart cell begins to beat as early as 4 weeks in the womb and a fully developed heart beats 100,000 times every day.1 It works hard to pump blood throughout your entire body without taking a break. Unfortunately, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.2 In fact, half of Americans have or participate in at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.3
While the risk for heart disease is partially genetic, there are multiple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk such as exercising, reducing alcohol use, losing weight (if you are currently overweight), and eating to balance your blood sugar.4 In addition, there are supplements you can take to support your journey to better heart health. Here are our top 4 supplements to support a healthy heart.
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance in the body found mostly in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas.5 Coenzyme Q10 works to create a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is responsible for cellular energy. It also works as an antioxidant, combating dangerous free radicals.6 Studies show that CoQ10 is beneficial in many heart ailments. A study published in Open Heart found that heart failure patients taking CoQ10 had a significantly reduced risk of a major cardiovascular event compared to those taking a placebo.7 In addition, other studies have concluded that CoQ10 may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure without any significant side effects.8
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found naturally in fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, and plant oils including salmon, mackerel, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, and canola oil. You can also increase your intake of these fatty acids by supplementing your diet with an Omega-3 supplement. A recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual conference studied 25,871 men and women over the age of 50 to asses their risk of heart attacks with and without supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids. The study concluded after 5 years that taking an omega-3 supplement reduces the risk of heart attacks. Specifically, fish oil lowered the risk of a heart attack by 28% (40% for those who consumed fish in their diet) and lowered the risk of a fatal heart attack by 50%.9
It may be smelly but supplementing your diet with garlic can benefit your blood pressure. Studies show that garlic supplements have the potential to lower blood pressure in those who are currently hypertensive, can regulate cholesterol, and stimulate the immune system.10 Garlic works by inhibiting enzymes involved in the creation of lipids and can decrease platelet aggregation, both of which are factors in heart disease.11
Turmeric isn’t just a tasty curry spice, but also functions as an anti-inflammatory. The polyphenol responsible for turmeric’s bright color is called curcumin. Curcumin has been linked to not only anti-inflammatory properties, but also anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic, and cardiovascular protective effects.12 Because of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, individuals taking turmeric may benefit from a reduced risk of arrhythmias as well. You can also easily add turmeric to your diet by sprinkling some on tea, shaking over popcorn, and seasoning your meats. Turmeric also pairs easily with other spices including cloves, cumin, ginger, and pepper.
Don’t forget to treat yourself this Valentine’s Day. Your heart will thank you for it.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.
- 24 Amazing Facts About Your Heart. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/24-amazing-facts-about-your-heart/. Published August 14, 2018. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Leading Causes of Death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm. Updated March 17, 2017. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. Reviewed November 28, 2017. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Family History and Other Characteristics That Increase Risk for Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/family_history.htm. Reviewed August 10, 2015. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Coenzyme Q10. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/coq10. Updated January 17, 2019. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Coenzyme Q10. Oregon State University. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Dinicolantonio JJ, Bhutani J, Mccarty MF, O’keefe JH. Coenzyme Q10 for the treatment of heart failure: a review of the literature. Open Heart. 2015;2(1):e000326.
- Rosenfeldt FL, Haas SJ, Krum H, et al. Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials. J Hum Hypertens. 2007;21(4):297-306.
- Fifield, K. Fish Oil May Help Prevent Heart Attacks. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2018/fish-oil-heart-health.html. Published November 12, 2018. Accessed February 7, 2019.
- Ried K. Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review. J Nutr. 2016;146(2):389S-396S.
- Rahman K, Lowe GM. Garlic and cardiovascular disease: a critical review. J Nutr. 2006;136(3 Suppl):736S-740S.
- Wongcharoen W – Int J Cardiol (2009) The protective role of curcumin in cardiovascular diseases.pdf