Bacon and eggs. Burgers and fries. Marshmallows and chocolate. These are great combinations, but not great for your heart. Unsurprisingly, though, there are specific nutrients that directly benefit heart function. With an overwhelming amount of supplements to choose from these days, how do you know which nutrients support optimal heart health? Which vitamins or minerals should you take?
Key nutrients work to directly promote cardiovascular health in several ways. These dietary supplements are substances that you can either eat or drink. They can be vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, herbs, and other plants. Essentially, these nutrients supplement your diet and you should not consider them a substitute for food. So in addition to focusing on the following nutrients, be sure to maintain a balanced diet and lifestyle that supports optimal heart health.
Also known as vitamin B9, folate works to optimize heart function in a behind-the-scenes way. Folate works to keep homocysteine levels in check, which isn’t a problem for people with healthy methylation cycles. Methylation is an integral biochemical process that aids the transference of methyl groups to and from different bioactive compounds in the body. The bioactive form of folate, 5-MTHF, plays various roles in the body. By keeping homocysteine levels in check, folate helps to encourage healthy heart function.
Resveratrol is an impressive phytonutrient that exists in chocolate, grapes, wine, and certain botanicals, including Japanese knotweed extract. Researchers note that resveratrol is the key to understanding the French Paradox, which juxtaposes the French diet, red wine, and relatively low rates of heart concerns in France. The French diet is naturally rich in saturated fats because French cooking utilizes a lot of butter. Similar to vitamin C, resveratrol works to support vascular and endothelial function, in addition to regulating blood pressure levels. Resveratrol also exhibits antioxidant properties that help protect against vascular oxidative stress. Although resveratrol benefits cardiovascular health, it has limited bioavailability. In order to boost the body’s absorption and retention of this phytonutrient, consume piperine alongside resveratrol.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Not only do omega-3 fatty acids promote cognitive health, but they also encourage healthy heart function. Omega-3s, according to many studies, are big supporters of the cardiovascular system, especially since they help reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, the American diet is not rich in these fatty acids. In high doses, marine omega-3s from fish oil supplements have been linked to positive cardiovascular function. Additionally, omega-3s may also optimize triglyceride levels and heart rate, two cardioprotective effects. If you want to promote a healthy heart, start consuming more omega-3s!
Lycopene is a phytonutrient that is primarily found in tomatoes or in supplement form. It exhibits cardioprotective actions, including the ability to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Other research notes that lycopene may help modulate cytokine production, support blood flow, and help regulate blood pressure levels. Various studies support the fact that lycopene may improve heart health in people who are in need of cardiovascular support.
Known for its antioxidant capabilities, vitamin C has the ability to combat free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. In addition to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C supports vascular integrity and endothelial function. Vitamin C may also promote healthy blood pressure levels and encourage healthy blood vessels. All of these abilities have a positive impact on cardiovascular function and longevity. Finally, vitamin C also encourages healthier skin, immune function, and may even contribute to better mood.