Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart
What exactly are the Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart? and why should I be aware of the vitamins and minerals that affect the heart? One of the most important organs in your body, a healthy heart helps you maintain an active lifestyle. A strong heart efficiently pumps blood to all the tissues of your body, providing each cell with the oxygen and nutrients needed to get you through the day. Several lifestyle factors — such as your level of physical activity and level of exposure to cigarette smoke — affect your heart’s health. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients benefits your cardiovascular system, and specific vitamins and minerals particularly affect your heart.
Here are some Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart
Vitamin D. Several nerves surround your heart, and these nerves interact with your heart muscle to maintain a steady heartbeat. Vitamin D helps ensure that these nerves have access to the calcium they need to function, helping to maintain healthy communication between the nerves and your heart muscle. Getting enough vitamin D also helps maintain your heart’s heath as you age. The University of Michigan Health Center reports that vitamin D might protect against heart hypertrophy, a condition that weakens your heart. Up to 50 percent of Americans suffer from low vitamin D levels, reports the health center, so get your recommended daily intake of the vitamin — 600 international units or 15 micrograms, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. This is why Vitamin D is considered an essential vitamin to our list of Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart.
Potassium also has a positive effect on your heart. Like vitamin D, potassium aids in nerve transmission, and the nerves that maintain your heartbeat rely on potassium to function. The mineral also benefits your heart by controlling your blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the strain on your heart over time, increasing your risk of heart failure. Getting enough potassium helps keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, so your heart can more easily pump blood to the rest of your body. As an added bonus, getting enough potassium makes you less sensitive to the blood pressure-boosting effect of sodium, so eating a salty meal is less likely to cause a severe blood pressure increase. You need 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. The reasons listed above is why Potassium, a macromineral, was added to the list of Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart.
Vitamin B-3. Another essential vitamin, that was added for good reason to the list of Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart is Vitamin B-3. This vitamin has an effect on your heart due to its ability to lower blood pressure. The vitamin relaxes your blood vessels, widening each vessel to reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow to your tissues. Niacin also affects your heart by controlling the levels of fats — such as cholesterol and trigylcerides — in your blood. High blood cholesterol or high triglycerides both increase your risk of heart disease. The fats form deposits on the walls of your arteries, and eventually, the deposits can grow so large that they prevent healthy blood flow, negatively affecting your heart. By keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a healthy range, niacin helps reduce the strain on your heart to keep you healthy. Men should get 16 milligrams of niacin each day, while women need 14 milligrams, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Healthy Foods That Contain Vitamins & Minerals that Affect the Heart
Incorporate salmon into your diet — the fatty fish provides a source of vitamin D, niacin and potassium, and also contains other heart-healthy nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids. Baked potatoes, bananas and prunes also benefit your heart health by boosting your intake of potassium. We recommend investing in quality all natural ingredients when making your meals. If you are interested in having meals prepared for you, take a look at some heart healthy meal prep delivery services.
- Linus Pauling Institute
- University of Michigan Health System: Vitamin D Findings Point to New Treatment for Heart Failure
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Niacin