Your heart is approximately the size of your fist and beats over one lakh times in a day. Your heart is responsible for supplying your entire body with the nutrients and oxygen it requires which is why heart ailments often affect the functioning of other organs. Heart disease has become a serious cause for concern as almost a quarter of all deaths in India are attributed to cardiovascular disease.

What causes a heart attack?

There are 2 major coronary arteries that provide the heart with its own blood supply. A blockage in these arteries leaves your heart muscles starved of the oxygen-rich blood it requires in order to function. The most common cause of a heart attack is atherosclerosis which is the build-up of plaque within the arteries. When the layer of plaque ruptures, a blood clot forms and blocks the artery. A bypass surgery or an angioplasty may be necessary to get rid of the blockage.

How can you protect your heart from heart diseases?

Heart supplements help to improve overall heart health and prevent heart disease. However, consuming supplements alone is not enough as you also need to follow a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise in order to prevent heart disease. Stress and inadequate sleep significantly increase the risk of heart disease so spend 20 minutes in meditation and sleep for at least 7 hours a day to protect your heart and stay healthy.

What are the superfoods which help to strengthen the heart?

(1) Foods rich in Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant which protects the body against free radical damage and helps in fighting heart disease. CoQ10 is found in foods such as organ meats, chicken, mackerel, sardines, cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli. Here’s what you need to know about CoQ10 for heart health.

  • Studies have shown that CoQ10 increases the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and reduces LDL (bad cholesterol).

  • Studies have also shown that low levels of CoQ10 are also responsible for an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Low levels of CoQ10 results in high CRP (C-reactive protein) levels - this is a biomarker for CVD.

  • CoQ10 has the potential to reduce the systolic blood pressure.Studies have shown that the recovery rate from heart failure increases by 25% with CoQ10 supplementation.

  • It is important to get your daily boost of CoQ10 to protect your heart from diseases.

  • Naturally available sources of CoQ10 generally provides a maximum of 2mg-5 mg of CoQ10 which is less than you require; in such cases, CoQ10 supplementation can help.

  • You can find out your CoQ10 by a simple blood test.

(2) Resveratrol rich sources

Resveratrol is a group of polyphenols which function like antioxidants and helps in fighting against the free radical damage and protecting the heart from diseases. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, cranberries, red and white wine and in small amounts in peanuts and pistachios. Here’s what you need to know about resveratrol for heart health.

  • Studies have shown that resveratrol protects the lining of arteries which prevents the hardening of arteries – this reduces the risk of a heart attack.

  • Studies have shown that resveratrol reduces the oxidative stress in the body which prevents the premature aging of the cells in the body.

  • Resveratrol helps in reducing inflammation and also lowers bad cholesterol which prevents the blockage of blood vessels and prevents clot formation.

  • Research has also shown that resveratrol helps in controlling blood pressure.

  • Studies show that it is not easy to obtain adequate amounts of resveratrol through diet alone which is where dietary supplementation plays an important role.

  • Resveratrol along with other essential amino acids can help in boosting heart health

(3) Turmeric (Curcumin extract)

Curcumin is the active component in turmeric that is proven to have healthy heart effects. It is a powerful antioxidant which prevents free radical damage which is one of the main causes for several diseases, including heart disease. Here’s what you need to know about curcumin for heart health.

  • Curcumin helps in preventing clot formation and reduces the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries.

  • Curcumin relaxes the blood vessels and thus reduces the risk of heart attack.

  • Curcumin is also responsible for reducing inflammation in the body.

  • Adding turmeric to food preparations helps to increase curcumin consumption but it is likely to be inadequate as cooking results in a loss of this antioxidant. A supplement that contains curcumin along with black pepper extract enhances its absorption in the body.

(4) Selenium rich sources

Selenium is a trace mineral which is commonly found in certain foods like Brazil nuts, chia seeds, eggs, sunflower seeds, fish and mushrooms. Selenium prevents coronary heart disease by improving the flow of blood through the arteries, reducing free radical damage, and increasing antioxidant activity. Here’s what you need to know about curcumin for heart health.

  • Selenium has anti-inflammatory properties which fights inflammation and prevents heart disease.

  • Selenium reduces cellular damage in the body by reducing oxidative damage.

  • Selenium also helps in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol.

  • Selenium is found in small amounts in food and so it is not easy to meet selenium requirements through diet alone. In such cases, a selenium supplement would be a good option.

(5) Magnesium and zinc rich sources

Magnesium is especially important for heart health as it is required for the proper functioning of the left ventricle of the heart while zinc helps to regulate heartbeat. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and bananas are few natural sources of magnesium while oysters, red meat, poultry, and eggs are good sources of zinc. Here’s what you need to know about magnesium and zinc for heart health.

  • Adequate magnesium on a regular basis reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

  • New research has shown that zinc prevents heart failure by improving blood supply to the heart.

  • Zinc also helps in preventing cellular damage.

  • Sources of both magnesium and zinc are not easily available on an everyday basis which can lead to a deficiency in these minerals. Supplementing diet with a ZMA supplement will help you meet your daily requirements for these minerals.

Even if you follow a diet that contains these heart strengthening foods, you would still benefit from supplementation. Nutritional supplements are a simple and healthy way to ensure that you meet your nutritional requirements every single day for a healthy heart and a happy life!