Your heart is a very hard-working organ. It started pumping even before you were born and does not stop until you die. So, it is only right that you feed your heart with the right nutrients so that it can be working well non-stop.
Let’s look at what the heart does and what it needs so that we can identify the nutrients that help serve the heart.
The heart is actually a hollow muscle organ that serves to pump blood throughout the blood vessels in the whole body. The blood delivers all the necessary nutrients and oxygen to all the cells and tissues in the body, including the heart muscle cells!
Here are the 5 key nutrients important for the proper function of the heart
1) Co-enzyme Q10
It is a vitamin like compound that is found throughout the body cells, but especially in the heart. Co-enzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart muscle from free radical damages and is important for the production and maintenance of energy in the heart.
You can get Co-enzyme Q10 from fish, meat, gems of grains have a high concentration of co-enzyme Q10.
Carnitine is a vitamin like compound responsible for the transport of fatty acid to the energy producing unit in the cells called mitochondria. Deficiency in carnitine leads to low-level of fatty acids in the mitochondria and low energy production.
Carnitine is produced from Lysine, which is another amino acid. Supplementation of carnitine helps the body to utilize fat as energy source. As the heart is pumping non-stop, carnitine plays an important role to ensure that the energy supply is there.
Other conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and triglyceride are helped with carnitine supplements. Taking carnitine after a heart attack also help faster recovery of the heart muscle.
Lysine is an essential amino acid. That means the body does not synthesize them and you need to obtain it from food source. Lysine is important for the production of carnitine. It is also important for helping with chest pain because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that reduces pain.
You can get lysine from red meat, fish, eggs, nuts, legume and spinach. Lysine binds with sugar. So, it is difficult for the body to absorb lysine if there is too much sugary food consumed together.
Taurine is an amino acid that is synthesized by the body from cysteine and methionine. Taurine is important for improving the function of the heart left chamber and moderate irregular heart beat. It also helps the blood vessel to relax, and hence alleviate high blood pressure.
You can get taurine from meat, fish, egg and brewer’s yeast. Deficiency in taurine can also result from deficiency in Vitamin A, Zinc and Vitamin B6.
Magnesium is an important mineral that is found in 300 different enzymes in the body. These enzymes are responsible for the creation of energy molecules of the body, the pumping action of the heart muscle and relaxation of blood vessel.
Magnesium helps prevent sudden heart cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported 240,000 studies where dietary intake of magnesium reduces the risk of stroke. Postmenopausal women have lower levels of magnesium in the body and that increase the risk of blood clot, heart attack and stroke.
You can get good source of magnesium from chlorophyll, the green pigment of most plants, seaweed, pumpkin seeds, cocoa and flaxseed. Supplementation of magnesium should preferably be in the chelated form as it is better absorbed into the body.
Take good care of your heart and it will serve you well throughout your lifetime.
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