Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, with one person dying from Cardiovascular Disease every 12 minutes. It is our largest health issue and a huge strain on the economy due to the costs related to treating it.
Now experts say there are vital ingredients we can consume to help prevent heart disease and encourage a healthy diet. A lot of ingredients on the list can be found in common foods or taken as a supplement. Take a look and tell us: will give them a go.
1. Omega 3 essential fatty acids
You might have heard that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways to control your weight and stay healthy, and that’s largely due to the high content of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3 helps prevent inflammation and provides the right nutrients to keep your heart healthy.
Found in: Oily Fish, nuts and seeds, seed oils.
Magnesium is like nature’s very own muscle relaxer. It helps produce a type of energy called ATP, which lets the heart relax and can prevent strokes and heart attacks. Women tend to more magnesium deficient than men so it’s important to make sure you are including it in your diet. If you’re looking for a different way to up your daily intake, try putting Epson salts in a warm bath. The magnesium will absorb through your skin.
Found in: Nuts, Seeds, Green Leafy vegetables, pulses such as red lentils.
3. Co-Enzyme Q10
The name may be strange but the benefits are serious. Co-Enzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a strong antioxidant and when combined with selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc works to prevent damage to the arteries. If you are taking statins you will most likely have lower CoQ10 levels; ask your doctor about taking a supplement to increase your levels and protect your heart.
Found in: Meat, eggs and fish.
4. Vitamin D
While we’re often told to stay out of the sun, experts say a small dose of exposure can be highly beneficial due to the vitamin D found in the sunshine. Vitamin D helps protect you from heart disease as well as high blood pressure and strokes. Research has found that people who are vitamin D deficient have a 40 per cent higher chance of developing heart disease.
Found in: Sunshine, fish, eggs, and some mushrooms.
Zinc helps to prevent inflammation and can also help protect from coronary artery disease and improve heart function.
Found in: Pumpkin seeds, nuts and seeds, shellfish.
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin has all sorts of health benefits and in terms of the heart, can help prevent disease and cellular damage. It also lower cholesterol and decreases your chance of a stroke. You can get your daily dose from fruits and vegetables or by taking a supplement.
Found in: Fresh fruit, particularly berries, parsley, red onions.
7. Vitamin E
Vitamin E can help improve cell function and reduce bad forms of cholesterol, both of which go a long way to keeping your heart healthy and happy. To get the most out of the vitamin though, you should combine it with foods containing vitamin C, selenium and Co-Q10.
Found in: Avocados, nuts and seeds.
There are strong links between low selenium levels and heart disease so it’s a good idea to consciously add this ingredient into your diet. Like vitamin E though, it works best when combined with other vitamins and nutrients. Make sure you combine it with foods containing vitamin E, vitamin C and Co-Q10 for maximum benefits.
Found In: Brazil nuts, seaweed.
Your heart and your stomach might be far away from each other, but the link between them goes a long way towards keeping you healthy. There is significant correlation between poor gut health and heart disease. Essentially, bad bacteria in your gut can cause inflammation and poor absorption of nutrients, which weaken the immune system and the heart. You can find probiotics in food or as a supplement from the chemist.
Found in: Fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir.
If you love the taste of garlic you’re in luck. Allicin is a powerful element in garlic and is proven to have a strong affect on the heart and blood pressure, improving blood flow and relaxing the vessels. To get the most out of it, crush the garlic gently, instead of chopping, before adding to your food.
Found in: Garlic!