Supplements for a healthy HEART
Supplements often get bad press, with people believing you can get the nutrients and vitamins you need from your diet alone.
As much as this has some truth to it, the reality is that we don’t eat as well as we should. Our lives are busy, full of stress, pollution and overloaded with chemicals which are found in a lot of the foods and drinks we consume regularly. Supplementation offers concentrated, higher potency versions of real food, and as such, should be seen more as a medicine than a food. For optimum health it is necessary to give our bodies a helping hand, topping up our diets with some high quality nutrients to help treat or prevent ill health. While it is important to remember supplements cannot replace a good diet, they can certainly help to dramatically enhance your health.
One area of particular interest for Nutritionist and author Sarah Flower is the effect of supplements on improving cardiovascular health. Heart disease affects millions of people each year with one in seven men and one in ten women dying from coronary heart disease, which is preventable. To help combat a range of cardiovascular diseases, Sarah has selected her favourite heart healthy supplements with a proven track record to really help protect you from heart disease.
A daily garlic capsule can help reduce high blood pressure by 10%. Garlic can also protect you against high cholesterol, heart disease and heart attacks as well as preventing certain cancers. When choosing a capsule, I’d recommend looking for something of a high quality because the main, active component, allicin, can be unstable so supplements can vary a lot. I would also avoid odourless capsules because this depletes the effectiveness of allicin.
TRY: Biocare Garlic Plus, containing 400mg of freeze-dried garlic.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and plant sterol that really packs a punch. Not only can it help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, it can also help with arteriosclerosis by supporting the endothelial cells. It has also been shown to help prevent cellular ageing and for women approaching menopause, it can protect against loss of bone density. If all that isn’t enough, it has also been shown to protect you against certain cancers, in particular, prostate cancer.
TRY: Cardiomato £18 available from Boots and is the only lycopene supplement supported by extensive clinical research with notable results in just six weeks.
Magnesium is far more effective when in citrate form, so it is worth spending a little more and buying the best quality supplements available. Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function, protein synthesis, energy yielding metabolism and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It has also been used for a variety of things from PMT right through to preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure. Studies have also shown it can help protect you from heart attacks and strokes.
TRY: Nutrigolds Citrizorb which delivers 100mg of elemental magnesium in organic citrate form.
I am a huge fan of fish oils and again quality counts. Studies demonstrate strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels. There’s also good evidence that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids can help with rheumatoid arthritis as well as osteoarthritis. As well as benefitting heart health, fish oils are essential for joint health, brain health and have even been shown to help reduce weight.
TRY: UnoCardio 1000, recently named the highest quality fish oil supplement on the market.
Well known for boosting the immune system, Vitamin C is also vital for heart health. It protects the cellular walls, helping to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, as well as reducing high blood pressure. For these heart health benefits, Vitamin C needs to be used in conjunction with CoQ10, Vitamin E and Selenium, so make sure these supplements are also included in your diet.
TRY: Altrient C, a liposomal vitamin C supplement which has a 98% absorption rate.