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10 Vitamins and Minerals That Support Cardiovascular Health

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There are many conditions out there that can lead to death, but heart conditions are certainly in the top 5.

Most people would say cancer, but heart disease actually takes more lives every year than any other disease. If you or someone you love has suffered from heart problems, then it’s time to consider what you can do to help keep your heart healthy.

Getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet are important, but certain vitamins and minerals are also key players in keeping your cardiovascular system functioning at its best. Here are 10 vitamins and minerals that can support cardiovascular health in anyone, even if they have experienced cardiovascular problems before.

Vitamin D

This wonder vitamin supports cardiovascular health in two ways. First, Vitamin D strengthens your heart muscle. Second, a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that low levels of Vitamin D lead to increased inflammation, a known risk factor for heart disease. Research published in Nutrition Research showed that patients with lower levels of Vitamin D had more plaque buildup in their arteries than those with normal amounts of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is commonly obtained from the sun, but some food sources like cod liver oil, salmon, tuna and dairy products (fortified with vitamin D) can also provide an amount of this vitamin.

Vitamin B12

Without enough vitamin B12, blood can’t form red blood cells or produce DNA. This is called pernicious anemia. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, eat a variety of foods from all food groups—especially meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products and green leafy vegetables. Also supplement with a daily multivitamin that contains at least 25 percent of your daily value (DV) for vitamin B12.

Further reading: What is the Difference Between a Healthy Diet and a FAD Diet?

Magnesium

Studies have shown that low levels of magnesium in the blood can elevate C-reactive protein, a marker for heart disease risk. Therefore, taking a magnesium supplement may help to lower your heart disease risk (source). Recommended daily intake: 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women. Magnesium is abundant in green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin C

Arguably one of natures most potent antioxidants, vitamin C is responsible for producing a protein called collagen. Collagen plays an important role in cardiovascular health by strengthening blood vessels and improving circulation—both factors that help decrease your risk of heart disease. As a bonus, vitamin C also helps strengthen your immune system to ward off colds, flus, bronchitis and allergies.

You can obtain vitamin C from citrus fruits, tomato juice, mixed bell peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, and more.

Potassium

An essential mineral that our bodies need in abundance to function properly, potassium is important for cardiovascular health. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure as well as your heart rate, which is why deficiency can lead to both high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). The recommended daily intake of potassium is 4,700 milligrams per day; bananas are a great source (1 medium banana has 422 milligrams of potassium), but you can also get your fix by eating seafood or drinking milk.

Further reading: 5 tips for improving your cardiovascular health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Both fish oil and flaxseed oil contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to lower levels of triglycerides (fats) in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood that can cause health problems like heart disease.

Folate

Research shows that people with a diet rich in folate are less likely to have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. Folate is naturally found in leafy greens, beans, and avocados, but you can also consume foods fortified with folic acid, like cereals. Eggs are another great source of folate.

Iron

Getting enough iron is important for cardiovascular health because it’s a major building block of hemoglobin. Haemoglobin transports oxygen in your red blood cells. It can be hard to get enough iron from foods alone, so if you’re feeling tired or lightheaded even after eating a good meal, you might need to consider an iron supplement. Your healthcare provider will know what dose is right for you; try not to self-diagnose—too much iron can cause serious damage.

Iron can be obtained from spinach, broccoli, oats, tofu, nuts and dried fruit.

Calcium

Studies suggest that calcium may play a role in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. Getting enough calcium could help to keep plaque from forming in your arteries. This could lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. Although calcium is best known for its bone-building benefits, it’s also needed for a wide range of other essential body functions. It plays an important role in blood clotting and helps to maintain normal muscle function as well as proper nerve function.

You can obtain calcium from milk, cheese, kale, soya drinks and bread that’s been fortified with calcium.

Further reading: 8 Ways to Improve Your Health

Selenium

A trace mineral, selenium is a component of antioxidant enzymes called glutathione peroxidases. These enzymes help your body to naturally resist damage from free radicals. These are toxic byproducts produced during normal metabolism that can accumulate in cells and lead to accelerated aging, cancer, heart disease and other health problems. By getting enough selenium in your diet, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing these conditions.

You can obtain selenium from wholegrains, milk, cheese, yoghurt, meats, poultry and seafood.

Summary

We’ve all heard that a healthy diet is good for our hearts, but what does that really mean? Heart health isn’t just about what we eat; it’s also about making sure our bodies get all of the vitamins and minerals they need to stay strong.

In this post, we’ve provided 10 vitamins and minerals that support your cardiovascular health! We hope that you’ve enjoyed our post and that you are ready to improve your health! Don’t forget to take a look at our online courses to help you reach optimum health, nutrition and fitness levels.

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