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I "Heart" Heart Health

BGTYWBThe holiday of hearts and Cupid is upon us. My husband and I continue to debate the validity of Valentine’s Day.  Is the day a lighthearted exchange, one that boosts greeting card sales, chocolates and dinner dates? Or is it deeper than that – a time to celebrate and appreciate the love in our lives? I’ll stick to the latter, and maybe it’s the nutritionist in me, but I’ll go even further to include appreciation for our hearts. Heart health, specifically. Whichever perspective resonates with you, caring for ourselves and those we love is really at the heart of it all.

But it’s more than love that keeps your heart pumping. Did you know that your heart beats about 100,000 times a day? That’s a fun fact courtesy of the American Heart Association. A not-so-fun fact is that heart disease remains the #1 cause of death in the US. With that said, here are some common-sense science-supported ways to prioritize cardiovascular wellbeing: 

  • Eat right.
  • Exercise regularly, both cardio and strength-training. Be active throughout the day.
  • Practice stress management.
  • Get quality sleep.

I doubt any of these surprise you. What might raise an eyebrow is the research on certain vitamins, minerals and compounds, many of which may already be helping your heart without you even knowing it.


“Eating right” might seem like a no brainer, but it’s not always easy. In today’s typical on-the-go lifestyle even the healthiest diet doesn’t necessarily give you enough of some critical nutrients for your heart. Therefore, an easy first step is that daily multivitamin. Need a belated (and easy) 2013 resolution? Pop your multi with pride. These heart-healthy nutrients are likely in there:

  • VitaminsVitamin D - supports healthy circulation and healthy inflammation levels
  • Calcium - helps to balance the beating of the heart, the circulatory system and blood pressure
  • Magnesium - supports blood pressure balance
  • Potassium- crucial (in balance with sodium) for healthy blood pressure
  • Selenium - antioxidant; selenomethionine form is important to overall blood and heart health
  • Vitamin C - antioxidant; may be helpful for promoting healthy blood pressure levels
  • Niacin - promotes open, clear arteries and healthy levels of triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol 

Keep in mind that the nutrient amounts in a multivitamin are just enough to cover deficiencies. For concentrated heart benefits, the therapeutic levels needed may be more than what’s in a standard multi, so please talk to your health care provider to learn more.

Essential Fatty Acids

No less important for the heart than vitamins and minerals are essential fatty acids, or EFAs. We’d need a week of blog posts to properly shower essential fats with props. Here are the basics.

  • EFAs - help prevent harmful inflammation. (Think omega-6s and omega-3s, in a ratio of about 3:1.) The body cannot synthesize these; they must come from food or supplements. Go-to supplement sources: flaxseed oil, hemp oil, fish oil.

Fiber and Antioxidants

Next, it’s our old friend (and sometimes savior) fiber.  All kinds of fiber contribute to health, but it’s the soluble stuff that has been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels. (Oats and beans please!)

Finally, antioxidants. While they have no business being last in this line-up, let’s follow our heart-healthy plan and “not stress about it.” Plus, they say that info at the end of an article tends to stick, so remember this: There seems to be no end to research on antioxidant cardio protection. So here’s a list of just a few antioxidant sources: carotenoids (including lutein and lycopene) found in many fruits and vegetables, catechins in green tea, polyphenols in grape seed extract, bioflavonoids in hawthorne, CoQ10, active constituents in many spices, as well as vitamin C and selenium. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.

How do you keep your heart beating strong for your loved ones?

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June dorfsman says …

For fybromialgia and chronic fatigue what do you recommend im exhausted and in pain and cant seem to get moving i need help.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JUNE - These topics are a bit out of our area of expertise. I would encourage you to check with your healthcare provider for their advice. If they recommend supplements as an option, check with your local store to see if they carry those items!

Harmoniously Fit says …

Great article! Thanks for sharing. February is a great time to encourage staying healthy and fit for our loved ones.

Molly says …

As a senior I look for ways always to improve or extend my life. I find soups and vegetable stews and salmon etc. all desirable and healthy. I recently had bi-pass surgery at the age of 80. I celebrated in the hospital my birthday and at first I was angry that I followed all the rules and still had surgery/ then someone pointed that most of my pals were dead and I was not. My dad died at 58 of a heart attack. My conclusion is this...thank the Doctor and the vitamins and the veggies and the low salt cooking. I AM ALIVE

Barbara Formica says …

@June - supplement to help Fibromyalgia would include a comprehensive multi, Soy Protein, Caroteins, B Complex, Vitamin C, E, Iron, selenium, copper, zinc, magnesium balanced with calcium, EPA Omega 3 fatty acids, GLA gamma linoleum acid, probiotics, valerian to help with sleep, There are a few more. It may seem overwhelming but I know many people that have had much success taking a nutritional approach.

violet johnson says …

This article could not be more apropriate recently had an abnormal ekg after cardiac catherisation my heart seems to be fine but I have to relearn to prioritize self Ihate taking too many medications but if I can find one multivitamin which has every thing that would be great I am trying to run a small buisness even with a phd in nursing some days its hard to eat properly when I am tired so thank you for reminding me how Important it is to put self first

Maria says …

I'm looking for a healthy protein shake to burn fat built muscles also something that will help me tone my body. i also want a calcium supplement im 45 yrs old and need a source of calcium...I would like to start taking vitamins but they say a Multi vitamin is not good when you are trying to tone promotes hunger do you have any opinion on Multi Vitamins?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARIA - Since our products vary between stores, I would suggest reaching out to your local store and speak with a Whole Body team member for their recommendations.


I am looking for herbs that promotes blood circulation

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@TISHANNA - This post is mainly about vitamins so I would ask your healthcare professional regarding any herbs that they would recommend.

kamtkw.org says …

Very good information. Lucky me I found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!