Heart Health Tips

Read these 13 Heart Health Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vitamin tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is lycopene?

Lycopene, A Heart Health Supplement

Lycopene is an antioxidant with many healing properties. It is also the pigment that gives tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit their vibrant colors. Antioxidants protect the body in a variety of ways, and they ensure heart health by remaining in body fat and combating free radicals throughout the body. Studies indicate that people with more lycopene in their body fat suffer fewer heart attacks than those who do not have lycopene in their body fat.

Lycopene is not produced by the body, so you have to get it from your diet, or from a heart health supplement. Tomatoes and tomato products are one of the best sources of lycopene, and surprisingly, processed tomato products, such as spaghetti sauce and tomato juice, contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

You only need to take a few milligrams of lycopene a day to get heart health supplement benefits. Ask your doctor about the dosage that's right for you.

   
What are essential fatty acids?

Essential Fatty Acids

In our bodies, there are "good" fats and "bad" fats. Bad fats include trans fats and fats that contain cholesterol, while good fats include Omega 3 oils from fish, and oils like olive oil that both help add to the good HDL fats that help control cholesterol and other problems in the body. Essential fatty acids have to be obtained through our diets, because our body cannot produce them, and they are essential for good health.

These essential fatty acids help maintain the cardiovascular, immune, reproductive, and nervous systems, and children need them to grow strong and healthy, too. Unfortunately, our modern American diets are often deficient in Omega 3 oils, the oils for good health that contain the most essential fatty acids, and a deficiency in these essential fatty acids can lead to a variety of conditions, including heart disease.

To get more essential fatty acids in the diet, eat more fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, or take flaxseed oil as a supplement. Take about one tablespoon per day, and keep your flaxseed oil in the refrigerator between dosages.

   
Why do I need essential fatty acids?

Fish Oil: An Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid for a Healthy Heart and Immune System

No matter what type of diet you follow, it's important to remember that not all fat is bad. In fact, some fats, namely essential fatty acids such as omega-3s from fish oil or flaxseed oil, are essential for good health. But the body doesn't produce these good fats on its own. You can get essential fatty acids from foods—salmon is quite high in them. But if you are trying to lose weight and watch your fat intake, or if you can't or don't eat fish, essential fatty acid supplements, such as fish oil capsules, can provide similar benefits.

In particular, omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that helps keep your heart healthy by lowering triglycerides, which are the chemical form of most fats in food and in the body. If your triglyceride levels are too high, you may be increasing your risk for heart disease, especially if you have a family history of heart problems.

But fish and fish oil are among the highest and most convenient sources of omega-3s. Strong scientific evidence shows that fish oil supplements with omega 3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA can lower triglycerides and they are considered safe for most people. Similarly, fish oil supplements may help keep LDL cholesterol (the unhealthy kind) low, and HDL cholesterol (the healthy kind) high.

Fish oil supplements come in many forms, including tables, liquid oil, and softgels, with concentrations ranging from 30% to as much as 70%. Recommended doses for EPA and DHA are about 1,000 mg daily, so choose a concentrated supplement if you prefer to take fewer pills.

   
Can CoQ10 reduce my risk of heart disease?

Enzyme Supplement CoQ10 May Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Co-enzyme Q10, commonly known as CoQ10, is a molecular compound that occurs naturally in the body. CoQ10 plays a role in healthy cell function and provides an essential spark in the production of energy. Lower–than-average levels have been reported in patients with chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's disease. In addition, low levels of CoQ10 have been noted in people who take cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins).

Some evidence suggests that taking CoQ10 as a supplement will raise CoQ10 levels up again. CoQ10 may have some preventive properties as well—a dose of 30 milligrams may promote general health, and 60 milligrams might cut down on your risk for heart disease if you have a family history. If you have heart disease, manufacturers of products such as Lindberg CoQ10 suggest doses of 100 milligrams or higher to help increase CoQ10 and prevent the disease from getting worse. Those with Parkinson's take as much as 1,200 mg a day.

CoQ10 has been studied and used as a treatment or preventive strategy in patients with a range of health conditions including high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease and heart damage due to chemotherapy. Of these, high blood pressure has good scientific evidence to support its use. Since statin drugs can lower one's CoQ10 levels and result in congestive heart failure, adding CoQ10 to your supplement program may be a good idea if you're taking a statin drug.

   
What is a good heart disease vitamin?

A Good Heart Disease Vitamin

Many researchers believe vitamin D shows extreme promise in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. This heart disease vitamin is converted from sunlight in our bodies, and many people, especially as they grow older, suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D. Physicians believe this contributes greatly to heart disease.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to hypertension, high cholesterol, and other factors that can lead to heart disease. This vitamin is readily available, and supplements ranging as high as 5,000 mgs are available over the counter and online. Many experts now believe that doses of 3,000 to 5,000 mg per day are not excessive, especially in the fall, winter, and spring, and that recommended doses of 400 to 500 mg a day are simply inadequate for our health and wellness needs.

This heart disease vitamin is not readily available in most foods, so taking a supplement is the best way to help ensure your health and heart disease well being.

   
How does garlic help heart health?

Garlic and Heart Health

You've heard that a baby aspirin a day can keep the cardiologist away. Bummer for her, good for her. However, like so many people, you may not be able to tolerate aspirin--though as a young mom, you need it!

Nature has an answer: Garlic. It's not just for bread any more. But while you might be tempted to take garlic to ward your hubby off when he's annoying you, you hate the smell that mouthwash never seems to eliminate. You may not be able to get rid of this with garlic supplements, since odorless capsules may take away some of the potency. Try enteric-coated supplements.

A garlic supplement is easy on the stomach, and better if you or your mom takes blood thinners such as warfarin. Garlic also lowers blood pressure, promotes colon health, and eliminates bad cholesterol and triglycerides.

So don't breathe on your kids till they pass out (on second though...) Take 400 to 600 mg of garlic per day. Take it with food, and use caution before combining it with aspirin and high blood pressure medication.

Give your cardiologist garlic too. You can make up for her not taking that extra vacation in Italy.

   
What vitamins and minerals prevent heart disease?

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer in America, especially of women. We'll skip the accounting of the suspects (obesity, stress, inactivity, isolation) and go straight to the heart health solutions. Yes, vitamins can help you avoid a heart attack. A short list of those suspects:

  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin E
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B-6 and B-12
  • Garlic and Garlic Supplements
  • L-Carnitine
  • Omega 3 and Fish Oil
  • Magnesium
  • Oat Dietary Fiber Supplement

Grab as many of those suspects as you can before they get away. Case closed--and you didn't even need to watch "Law & Order."

   
Should I combine vitamin E with vitamin C for heart health?

No Heartache with Vitamin C and E

Your heart takes a beating through dating, but there's two guys you have to meet that can help you beat the stress: vitamin C and E. Studies show that a vitamin C and E combo is an effective heart health cocktail--and won't leave you lonely and depressed like the drink you had with your ex! C and E sotfgels with the addition of a herb such as rose hips will ache-proof your heart, like coenzyme-Q10 and a garlic supplement. Another way to keep your heart safe and happy: Check out of heartbreak hotel and don't let love stress affect you. Take your vitamins and read HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU or THE COWGIRL'S GUIDE TO LOVE. Saying "Yeehaw" once in a while will help too.

   
What's the correct dose of vitamin E for heart health?

Correct Dose of Vitamin E

If you're jogging on city streets to boost your heart health, do two things: 1) Carry pepper spray and take up karate. 2) Take 400 IU of vitamin E. Although vitamin E's effectiveness for heart health is downplayed, the supplement protects the heart and lungs (and don't forget the coenzyme-Q10). It protects you from the pollutants and free radicals you'll inhale on your jog. Speaking of breath, take a garlic supplement and eat a pound of garlic. Anyone who tries to mess with you will think twice! Now pop your vitamin E softgel and go jogging with your iPod!

   
What are some uncoventional heart health remedies?

Heart Health Remedies You Don't Know

When we talk about "unconventional heart health medicine," your mind conjures up visions of a sweat lodge and crystals. Number one, don't try to be a "weekend Native American." It doesn't work, and Native Americans have rampant diabetes anyway. Number two, we're fond of crystals, but we suggest nutrition first for heart health. Some unconventional supplements we've discovered:

  • Artichoke capsules, for people who hate to eat artichokes (they're delicious, by the way)
  • Green tea extract
  • Arjuna, an Ayurvedic herb named after the Sanskrit hero of the BHAGAVAD-GITA--hey, he was one of five brothers who married a princess, and he fought an army!
  • Ginkgo biloba--it's not just for your mind!
  • Soy isoflavones (although research is divided on how effective it is)
  • Grapeseed extract--it's the same principle as red wine every day!
  • Ginger supplements--great for your stomach too.
  • White willow bark (okay, now we're getting into sweat lodge territory)
  • Cayenne or capsicum
  • Ginseng
  • Sea kelp
  • Gum guggul--that's another Indian herb, as in dots, not feathers

Fatty acids help your heart too. What? Aren't we always told that for heart health we should stay away from fat? Bring us the Vitamin E! Fat? It's heresy! We summon coenzyme-Q10! Saturated fats may be bad for your heart, but the omega 3 in fish oil (remember DHA and EPA) keep you swimming the Ganges River (swimming is also great for your ticker) to find gum guggul. Everywhere you look, supplements lead you to exotic heart remedies, but they're actually available in your own grocery store or online. And don't forget the garlic--there's a reason you don't see vampires taking vitamins. Plus, a garlic supplement is better for your breath. If you still want to use the crystals, be our guest.

   
Can I take a supplement with a combo of vitamin E and coenzyme q10?

CoEnzyme-Q10 and Vitamin E

Coenzyme-Q10. A few years ago, you'd never heard of it -- just like iPods, SARS, and bird flu. Only iPods will help your heart as much as coenzyme-Q10, because the shuffle will keep you moving. Now, though, you want to take plenty of vitamin E, which you've known about (vaguely) all your life. Can you combine it with coenzyme-Q10 for a double-whammy dose of heart health and immune power? LIFE EXTENSION magazine reported in 2004 that a combo of coenzyme-Q10 and vitamin E reduced inflammation. Inflammation leads to heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disease as well as cancer. Co-enzyme Q-10 is highly absorbable, as are vitamin E softgels. So don't fret about SARS and bird flu. Just take your coenzyme-Q1O and vitamin E supplements with a side of garlic. Some heart health supplements even combine coenzyme-Q10 and vitamin E. Download music to your iPod and health to your heart.

   
What is CoQ10?

CoQ10

CoQ10 goes by many names, including Co Q10, Coenzyme Q10, Ubiquinone, and Vitamin Q. This compound is found in virtually every cell in the body, and it can have an effect on many ailments, including heart disease.

Studies indicate that many people who suffer from heart failure have lower levels of CoQ10, and there have been many studies that indicate higher CoQ10 levels can lead to increased quality of life and heart function in many heart disease patients. Many researchers believe that CoQ10 helps with heart-related symptoms like shortness of breath, and helps the heart pump stronger. These claims have not been substantiated by studies.

The standard dosage of CoQ10 varies. It is often between 30 and 90 mg a day, but it can go higher. As with all medications and supplements, you should check with your doctor before you begin taking CoQ10.

   
What are some good sources of essential fatty acids?

Essential Fatty Acids Sources

You can get essential fatty acids sources into your diet very easily. Most people know that fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel contain Omega 3 oils, which are part of the essential fatty acids group. Nuts, such as flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and sesame seeds also contain essential fatty acids, as do flaxseed, hempseed, canola, soybean, and wheat germ oils.

Other essential fatty acids sources include leafy greens like spinach, kale, mustard, and collard greens, but they contain less of the essential fatty acids than other sources. If you choose to use a supplement such as flaxseed oil for essentially fatty acids, make sure you use an all natural, cold-process oil. You can substitute canola oil for flaxseed oil, as well, as long as it is natural and cold-processed.

   
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