Balance out a healthy diet packed with nutrients with the best vitamins for heart health.
Heart disease is widespread in the United States. About 84 million people suffer from some form of it. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Additionally, certain conditions such as diabetes and obesity also put you at risk for developing heart disease.
You can boost your heart health by reducing or managing your risk factors and eating a healthy diet chockful of the right vitamins and minerals. Your best bet is to get the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your heart healthy from food. Food provides other compounds and fiber that are beneficial to your body and your heart.
But if you're not getting the important vitamins you need through your diet, or if eating a healthy diet still leaves you deficient in some areas, supplements can help do the trick.
The following vitamins and supplements for heart health may be beneficial:
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA fatty acids, may help reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation can damage your blood vessels, which contributes to heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease triglycerides. Having high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, can raise your risk of heart disease.
Ideally, you should get omega-3 fatty acids from eating fatty fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel. Adults should aim for at least two 3.5oz servings of omega-3-rich fish per week. But, if you can't get enough omega-3 fatty acids from food, a supplement can help. Fish oil supplements are another form of omega-3 fatty acids, packed with EPA and DHA.
Hardening of the arteries can be a risk factor for stroke, and homocysteine is an amino acid that has been associated with arterial hardening. Folic acid supplements may help lower levels of this amino acid and subsequently may reduce the risk of stroke.
Men should get between 30 and 38 grams of fiber a day and women should aim for 21 to 25 grams. But the reality is that most Americans fall far short of this heart-healthy nutrient in their diets. Getting the right amount of fiber helps reduce your risk of heart disease in a variety of ways. It helps lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations, which is commonly referred to as the "bad" type of cholesterol, and raise your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, the "good" kind of cholesterol. Getting an adequate amount of fiber from your diet may help keep blood sugar within a healthy range and may lower blood pressure.
Plus, fiber helps you feel full so that you eat less and reduce your risk of obesity (another heart disease risk factor). Psyllium is a form of soluble fiber commonly found in brand name products such as Metamucil and Konsyl. For high-fiber foods, look to fruits, vegetables, and legumes like raspberries, apples, green peas, broccoli, black beans, and lentils. Incorporating foods such as whole wheat pasta, barley, quinoa or oatmeal can also add a boost of fiber to your day.
Before adding any new product to your current drug regimen, it's important to speak to your doctor. Some vitamins and supplements may interfere with other medications you're taking. A doctor can also prescribe the right dose and frequency of vitamins to improve your heart health and overall health. Then, follow up with your Rite Aid Pharmacist for advice about your supplement options.
For more information on boosting your heart health, visit the Rite Aid Heart Health Solution Center.
By Joelle Klein
Medical News Today, Seven Benefits of Psyllium
Science Daily, Vitamin D3 could help heal or prevent cardiovascular damage
John Hopkins Medicine, Cardiovascular disease statistics
Mayo Clinic, Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart
American Nutrition Association, Folic Acid for Heart Health
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Easy Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet
Mayo Clinic, Chart of High-Fiber Foods
National Institutes of Health, Folate