Heart Guide: 29 Pro Tips + Best Heart Supplements
February 3, 2022
When we think of the heart, we often think of love, but there’s a whole lot more to the heart than romance. Your heart never stops working, yet for most of our lives we take its silent hard-working ways for granted. Look at how amazing it is…
- It’s about the size of both fists.
- It pumps your 6 quarts of blood through your entire body three times every minute. That’s 12,000 miles in one day!
- It beats (expands and contracts) about 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year.
- Each minute your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood.
- There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in an adult body.
What Does The Heart Do?
Your heart sends oxygen and nutrient-rich blood around your body. It also carries out waste. The heart has two pumps: the right side pumps blood into the lungs; the left side receives blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body. Pumping requires a coordinated effort with special valves that open and close for proper blood flow. Your heart is part of your cardiovascular system that also includes blood vessels.
Causes of Heart Issues
- High cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure levels
- Family history
- Excess weight
- Poor diet
Herbs for The Heart
While a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein is essential for heart health, there are traditional heart supporting herbs you may want to consider including in your daily routine.
Cinnamon has been extensively studied for cholesterol and triglycerides with positive results. Its role in blood sugar is well known as lower blood sugar levels reduce risk of heart issues.
Garlic is the classic cardiovascular herb as it promotes healthy circulation and supports cholesterol levels already in the normal range due to its allicin content. Since the first discovery of allicin, further analysis of this surprisingly complex herb, shows garlic delivers naturally occurring trace amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron and more for overall health.
Although you may think of ginger for digestion, some studies suggest it may also play a role in maintaining a healthy heart. In fact, it’s been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries for heart health.
Curcumin, a major component of turmeric, is what give the spice its yellow color. Recently curcumin has become the focus of scientific studies that show it has an amazing ability to scavenge free radicals which benefit your digestion, heart, joints and more.
For centuries, green tea has been enjoyed for health and wellness. New studies now show it can also play a role in cholesterol levels.
A yellow-colored compound, Berberine (Berberis aristata) belongs to a class of alkaloids and is found in various plants including goldenseal, tree turmeric, Oregon grape and European barberry, among others. It has a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Although it has been used for many health concerns for centuries, it has recently gained attention for its ability to support blood sugar and cholesterol levels already in the normal range.
Multivitamin for Heart Health
If you’re looking for a one and done daily multivitamin that supports heart health, look for these key ingredients in the formula: CoQ-10, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, resveratrol, l-carnitine and omegas-3s.
Minerals and Other Support
Many Americans do not get enough magnesium from their diet because this important mineral isn’t present in many foods, yet it’s vitally important for muscles, bones, heart, and nervous system function. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with cardiovascular risk factors.
A naturally-occurring, fat-soluble compound that provides energy to every cell in your body. It’s particularly necessary for the high energy needs of your heart. Unfortunately, as you age, your ability to produce CoQ-10 declines. Supports a healthy heart. CoQ-10 may be vital for the functioning of the heart muscle. It also functions as an antioxidant to protect your body from free radicals.
Found naturally in red meat, L-carnitine is an amino acid that transports fats into cells for conversion into energy. Adequate energy production is essential for normal heart function.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are not made by your body but must be consumed. They play a role in maintaining healthy triglyceride levels and benefit overall heart health. The best source of Omega-3 fatty acids come from fatty fish like salmon, sardines, cod, herring, and canned light tuna. Aim to eat at least two servings of fish each week.
29 Pro Tips for a Healthy Heart – Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Diet & Exercise
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight
- Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar
- Focus on fiber
- Reduce stress in your life
- Skip the salt
- Unplug from devices
- Stop smoking
- Avoid processed foods
- Get annual physical exams
- If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation
- Get adequate sleep
Did you know?
- The human heart beats 70 times per minute. That’s 115,000 times a day and 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime
- The heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels every day
- The average adult heart is about the size of a fist
- Although rare, it is possible to have a broken heart, caused by a rush of stress hormones
- 22% of people in their twenties, 38% of people in their thirties, 50% of people in their forties and 62% of people in their fifties have high levels of LDL.
- For adults, total normal cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL and HDL should be 60 mg/dL or higher.
- High blood pressure is directly linked to weight, exercise, diet, stress, age, habits and even factors such as sleep apnea.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 120 and over 80 (120/80).
Diet and Nutrition
Start with fats
Just like all cells, your heart cells use ATP (energy) to pump blood, oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. This ATP is made when we eat according to certain guidelines and suggestions. Since heart gets 60% of its energy from fat cells and the liver makes cholesterol based mostly on fat intake, the AHA recommends replacing unhealthy, saturated fats with healthy, unsaturated fats.
- A lot of food includes trans-fat due to how affordable it is and the long shelf life it gives food. However, trans fat is the worst for you because it raises bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL). Processed and hydrogenated foods tend to have a large amount of trans-fat contributing to the plaque buildup that clogs your arteries.
- Choose to eat leaner meat and reduced fat options, especially when it comes to dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt).
- Even though most of our cholesterol is based on the types of fat in the food we eat, foods as common as egg yolks still contribute to our overall cholesterol. Knowing what is in the food you eat is the key to making heart-healthy decisions.
- Limit how often you consume red meat – while it is full of nutrients, it is important to include other sources.
- A lot of people overlook the importance of fish and chicken to their heart. Make it a goal to eat fish at least two times a week (salmon, tuna and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids which promote healthy blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- When purchasing chicken, choose boneless, skinless meat. If there is skin, you might want to trim and substitute it with seasonings such as garlic, curcumin, turmeric or oregano (all promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol).
- If you are going to give into your sweet tooth, make dark chocolate your first option. Cocoa beans are rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant known to promote healthy blood pressure and blood flow by helping limit blood clots and cell.
- The same flavonoids found in dark chocolate are found in red wine, pears, apples, blueberries, cherries and certain nuts.
- The American Heart Association recommends interval circuit training as the best type of cardio. An average adult should get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week. It is also important to limit the amount of sitting you do each day; sitting for long periods of time hurt blood flow, increasing the chances of clotting. Take the stairs whenever possible and if you work at a desk, be sure to get up and move every so often.
Show your heart some love by incorporating some of these heart-healthy supplements or by implementing a few tips. As always, be sure to speak with your doctor about what’s right for you.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.