In a previous article, we spoke about the importance of preventing atherosclerosis, which involves the buildup of plaque blocking your arteries. While we talked about the many lifestyle changes you can make to offset the risk of heart disease, there are certainly other ways to keep your arteries healthy as well.
Supplementing can help. Generally, nutrients from fresh food is best, but when you can’t get enough in your diet (often the case), supplementing can help make up for deficiencies. Sometimes your diet doesn’t provide everything you need in adequate amounts due to growing season, geographic location, or because you just don’t have enough time to prepare from fresh.
Preventative Supplements to Consider
1. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids since they are necessary for human health, but your body can’ t make them thus you have to get them through diet or supplements. Omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, reduce triglycerides (fats in your blood) & increase “good” cholesterol levels. They’re also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce plaque buildup.
2. Coenzyme Q-10. Evidence shows that CoQ10 (also called CoQ10, ubiquinone, or ubiquinol) helps reduce your risk of heart disease by improved energy production in cells, inhibiting blood clot formation. Additionally it is an exceptional antioxidant.
3. Fiber. Sadly, almost everyone is fiber deficient. It helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improving circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Experts suggest a daily intake of 25-38g of fiber daily, but the typical Western diet provides less than half of that. There are 2 general classes of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Ideally, choose a product that is very high (if not exclusively) soluble fiber as it is the one acting on cholesterol and triglycerides.
4. Garlic. Many studies have shown reductions in total cholesterol and particularly “bad” cholesterol with the consumption of garlic, particularly in those who regularly consume it raw. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties in addition to its ability to reduce bad cholesterol contribute to reducing atherosclerosis risk.
5. Green Tea. Numerous clinical trials show that regular consumption of green tea reduces risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. It lowers your total cholesterol and raises your “good” cholesterol.
Foods such as artichokes, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, almond, blueberry, barley, cocoa and ingredients added to foods such as oat bran, psyllium and phytosterols (also called plant sterols) have also been shown to help with cholesterol and blood pressure.
Atherosclerosis is preventable using the same tried and true methods used for controlling weight and diabetes prevention. Achieving a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be an overwhelming goal. Everyone can start by introducing small changes in their daily living habits. You have to remember to follow a sensible, realistic plan that won’t overwhelm you. Remember to also discuss with your doctor if you have any heart problems before starting any exercise routine, dietary changes or taking any supplements as some can interact with medications, causing harmful side effects.
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