Nutrients that play a role in heart health
There are a lot of factors related to our lifestyle, environment and hormones which affect our blood circulation during the day, which can make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. These factors include a bad diet, getting too much or not enough exercise, stress, smoking and alcohol. The risk for a blood clot to occur increases the more difficult it comes for the heart to pump blood. This increases the chance for the development of heart disease. Blood clot can also lead to other severe situations such as a stroke.
The health of the heart and blood vessels can be supported a lot with nutrition. Sufficient intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is the basis of a heart-healthy diet. A sufficient intake and absorption of protein and good fats is also important because the heart also needs amino acids and omega fatty acids. Certain nutrients play a bigger role when we wish to impact our cardiovascular health:
- Ubiquinone: Ubiquinone is an antioxidative molecule which the body needs in the production of energy. Ubiquinone is formed naturally in the body but its production starts to decrease after the age of 25. Also certain medications (such as statins used as cholesterol medicine) decrease the formation of ubiquinone in the body. Ubiquinone plays a significant role in heart health and the heart needs a lot of energy in order to function efficiently.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids include ALA, EPA and DHA fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the health of the heart and the circulatory system. Especially the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are important for heart health. EPA helps to decrease low-grade inflammation in the body which is harmful for blood vessels and the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids can be acquired for example from fatty fishes and sea-buckthorn.
- Vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin K1 is known for contributing to normal blood clotting, whereas vitamin K2 is important for the heart, blood vessels and bones. Vitamin K2 helps to prevent calcium from accumulating in soft tissues such as blood vessels. Vitamin K2 supplement can be a good addition to your diet if you wish to prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases.
- L-arginine: L-arginine is an important amino acid which is produced in the body – though the production decreases with age. L-arginine increases the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide affects cardiovascular health, as it expands blood vessels. This is why l-arginine can be helpful in maintaining a normal blood pressure.