We are consistently inundated with advertising and information about improving our general health. It’s no wonder, therefore, that most patients are confused as to what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, the patient should recognize that changing anything related to their diet or exercise program should be supervised by a qualified medical professional to help ensure it doesn’t cause adverse reactions. This is especially true for patients with existing cardiovascular disease.
The Importance Of Proper Nutrition
Unfortunately, while most of the US adult population is overweight, it doesn’t mean that they are nourished or healthy. There’s plenty of evidence to show that it’s quite the opposite. That most are malnourished. This is partly because our diets have tended to shift away from healthy, nutrient-dense foods and toward empty calories in the form of sugars, refined carbs, and saturated fats. More calories and less nutrition, in essence
As a result, millions of Americans are deficient in several essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Many patients have asked us if they should begin supplementation, and the answer is usually yes if they have a proven deficiency from blood work. Regardless, it is also possible to overdo it, and that is one reason why we encourage our patients to speak to the cardiologist before starting any supplementation regimen. With that said, some of the most common supplements a patient will be prescribed include:
Vitamin D3. This vitamin is crucial to the proper function of our bones as it allows calcium to be absorbed. Typically, we get vitamin D from the sun, but most Americans do not spend nearly enough time outside, or when they do, they are wearing thick sunscreen, and vitamin D synthesis can’t happen. Vitamin D has also been shown to improve mood, which can help patients exercise more and eat better.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids. You may have seen fish and krill oil sold in just about every nutrition aisle you’ve visited. Omega-3 oil is excellent for you, but these supplements and their composition are not straightforward. Ideally, rather than taking a supplement, increase your intake of good fats, especially from fatty fish like salmon, which is not only packed in nutrients but provides lean protein with relatively few calories.
Fiber. We must not think of fiber as only a way to improve our colon health. And while it does so very effectively, it is also excellent for heart health. Fiber, in fact, reduces the amount of cholesterol in our blood, while also filling us up, reducing our chances of overeating and gaining weight. Once again, while there are a multitude of fiber supplement options, it is very easy to get natural fiber from the foods we eat with a slight shift in shopping habits.
CoQ10. You have likely seen the supplement coQ10 or CoenzimeQ10 in the supplement aisle. There is evidence to support its role in reducing high blood pressure. It can also help with the side effects of statins if you are already on cholesterol-lowering medication.
There are many other foods and supplements that may help your heart including garlic, green tea, flaxseed, B vitamins, and red yeast rice. However, each of these has benefits and potential risks. Others may interact with medications you may be taking. The FDA does not regulate supplements, and some brands may be questionable or impure, reducing their effectiveness. So, if you can’t get your nutrients from food alone, be sure to do your research on which brands to trust.
We also encourage you to contact our office and schedule a consultation if your blood work is shown that you have a deficiency.