According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. That makes February, designated as American Heart Month, a great time to make healthy lifestyle changes that can ensure you’re doing all you can to protect your ticker.
In addition to consuming a well-balanced diet, consider these supplements to fill in the gaps.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 supplements can provide a host of heart-health benefits. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week to get enough of these essential nutrients.
For people who don’t like fish or simply don’t eat enough of it, a good omega-3 supplement with both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) can help control blood clots, work as an anti-inflammatory and more.
Cherries are rich in a kind of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. A study published in a 2013 issue of the journal Circulation, published by the AHA, found that young women with a greater anthocyanin intake had a reduced risk of heart attack.
Taking a tart cherry supplement can also help with post-exercise muscle recovery and support healthy joints.
Green Tea Extract
Tea has been extensively studied for its many benefits to human health. While both black and green tea leaves contain health-boosting nutrients, scientists have determined that green tea has a higher concentration of antioxidants known as polyphenols.
Studies have found that green tea intake may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering both cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and also help with an artery-clogging condition known as atherosclerosis.
An effective dose of green tea extract varies from person to person. Experts recommend between 100 to 750 milligrams per day.
It’s a simple fact that Americans consume too much sodium in our diets, which can lead to high blood pressure.
Potassium lessens the effect of sodium in the bloodstream, which can reduce tension in blood vessel walls, helping to lower blood pressure.
The recommended potassium intake for adults is 4,700 milligrams per day, most of which should be obtained from the foods you eat.
Excess potassium can be harmful if you have kidney disease or take certain medications, so talk to your doctor before taking a potassium supplement if you have concerns.
Karen Morse, MPH, is a freelance health and nutrition writer. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates, exploring nearby hiking trails and cooking up fresh, seasonal eats in the kitchen. Her work has appeared in Clean Eating, Weight Watchers, YouBeauty.com and others.