How to Keep Your Heart Healthy Without Drugs
Simply by getting older, we all increase our risk of developing heart disease. It’s the No. 1 killer in the U.S., responsible for 40% of all deaths, more than all forms of cancer combined. But no matter what your age, you can cut your risk for heart disease in half with healthy lifestyle choices and good nutrition, including supplements.
The most important thing you can do as part of a strategy to keep your heart functioning optimally throughout your life is to start early. Cardiovascular disease is not a normal part of getting older. You can avoid ever having to rely on a potentially dangerous prescription drug by taking action now to protect your heart.
You’re probably well aware of the standard advice: don’t smoke or use any other tobacco products, exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week, eat a balanced high-fiber diet and try to keep your weight in a healthy range.
To add to that good advice, here are our top suggestions for additional nutritional support from supplements:
1. Fish Oil
If you’re not eating at least two servings a week of a fatty fish such as wild salmon or sardines, you should take 1-3 grams a day of fish oil. Research shows that fish oil’s omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of a heart attack by more than 30%. That’s better than cholesterol-lowering statin drugs! Fish oil also helps to protect heart health by preventing arteries from clogging up after angioplasty or bypass surgery.
2. Vitamin D
A new study has found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D are 45% more likely to develop coronary artery disease, and twice as likely to develop heart failure as those with adequate levels of vitamin D. Many experts now recommend 2,000 IU or more a day of vitamin D.
This energy-producing substance is concentrated in heart muscle, but with age, levels drop and supplementation is essential. Getting extra CoQ10 is important if you take a statin drug, since these drugs deplete CoQ10. It’s also essential if your heart is weak. CoQ10 can improve symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling of feet, enlarged liver and trouble sleeping in people with congestive heart failure. Take 100-300 mg a day.
Supplement your diet with an array of inflammation-fighting nutrients, including vitamins C and E, lycopene, flavonoids, ellagic acid, anthocyanidins and polyphenols, all linked to a reduced risk for heart disease. You’ll find these in green tea, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, açai, goji berry, and in grape seed extract. If you’re not eating 5-10 servings of these colorful foods every day, take a concentrated superfoods supplement.
This anti-aging component of red wine helps to prevent blood clots, and, new research shows, may help keep your heart healthy by limiting the effects of cardiac fibrosis, a hardening of the heart tissue. Use a supplement to get plenty of resveratrol without the ill effects of too much wine! About 400 mg of standardized resveratrol a day is a good dose.
Take 350-400 mg. There is a strong and consistent link between optimum levels of magnesium and a lowered risk of heart disease. In a study of cardiac bypass surgery patients at Duke University, those with low magnesium levels were twice as likely to have a heart attack or die from any cause than those with normal levels. Low magnesium has been linked to increased risk for stroke, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, inflammation and poor blood sugar regulation—all risk factors for heart disease.