5 Heart Health Saviors You Shouldn’t Ignore
By now most people who follow general heart health recommendations already know some of the key nutrients that support heart health.
Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats have received much attention for their cardiovascular benefits. These are commonly found in some types of fish, flaxseed and olive oil, avocado and some types of nuts. But there are many more, less well known nutrients that likewise help to support good cardiovascular health. Consider adding these five nutrients into your regular diet if you are seeking this benefit.
Sure, most everyone is familiar with the term magnesium, but how many of us actually know the specifics about its health benefits—or the fact that it is especially good for heart health? As a matter of fact, magnesium is an essential nutrient for regulating and promoting normal cardiac rhythm. In fact, magnesium is the primary treatment for an irregular heartbeat, or a heart arrhythmia. Moreover, magnesium has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in several studies. So, if you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health, and perhaps regulate your heartbeat in the process, be sure to eat plenty of walnuts and spinach. These two foods are packed with magnesium.
Yes, the nutrient that is widely associated with tomatoes is another excellent way to support good cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that lycopene helps to reduce blood pressure. It increases levels of super oxide dismutase (SOD), thus helping to eliminate toxins from the blood and lessening the risk of heart disease. Aside from tomatoes, lycopene is concentrated in several other types of fruits. Such fruits include guava, watermelon, papaya and grapefruit. It is also present, to a lesser extent, in some vegetables.
3. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 has been identified as a key nutrient that is found in every single cell in the human body. However, not everyone is aware that this nutrient is especially concentrated in the heart. CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant in the bloodstream and is most highly concentrated in our hearts, making it an important nutrient for cardiovascular health.
CoQ10 exists naturally in beef, organ meats, soy oil and some types of fish. But is often taken as a supplement as well, since the amounts present in these foods tend to be relatively low. Fortunately, if you feel unsure as to whether or not you have enough CoQ10 in your diet, there are several ways to evaluate yourself for a possible deficiency.
Perhaps one of the less well known nutrients on this list is L-carnitine. It plays a critical part in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, thereby helping to promote a healthy heart. In addition, L-carnitine further supports heart health by aiding our bodies in breaking down fats for energy usage. Thus, it boosts the functionality of the heart muscle itself. Aside from its prevalence in avocado, L-carnitine may also be found in significant doses in fermented soy goods and some animal proteins.
Most of us have heard that a regular glass of red wine plays a role in promoting cardiovascular health. However, less people recognize that resveratrol is the critical nutrient that exists in wine with this function. This nutrient is also common in dark chocolate, blueberries and cranberries, and pistachios and peanuts. Resveratrol boosts cardiovascular health by preventing our blood from clotting. Thus, it reduces the risks of a heart attack. In addition, resveratrol is proficient in enhancing antioxidant and nitric oxide production in our bodies, thereby helping to decrease blood pressure.
Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.