The heart is one of the most sensitive organs in the body, once anything goes wrong with the heart, everything becomes wrong with the body. The heart is a very strong but delicate organ of the body, as it works all through one’s life time and rarely rests. It is made up of four chambers and has arteries and veins for the transport of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. The heart is responsible not just for circulating blood round the body but also required for the transfer of nutrients to the required sites in the body.
The importance of having a healthy heart can never be overemphasized and it is crucial to note that our hearts is as healthy as the food we eat. Little adjustments we make in regards to our diet can go a long way to ensure a healthy heart by preventing blockage of the arteries and lowering of blood pressure. However, the impact food make on the health of the heart is dependent on its composition which ranging from vitamins, minerals to elements needed in a large concentration.
Vitamins are always needed in small quantities and can be gotten from other supplements than food. Different types of vitamins have different types of roles it plays in the maintenance of the health of the heart. Either when taken individually in combination. The best vitamins for a healthy heart and its benefits are stated below:
Also known as ascorbic acid, this is a water-soluble vitamin, which the body cannot store. Nevertheless, this vitamin offers great benefits for the heart, as it has been proven that a consistent daily dose of vitamin c has the same effect that walking has in the heart. Research studies carried out in obese adults showed that a daily dosage of vitamin C help prevent or drastically reduce the endothelin-1- mediated blood vessels constriction thereby aiding the relaxation of blood vessels and improving the health of the heart. Vitamin C also helps in the vasodilatation of blood vessels in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, angina pectoris preventing heart attack, stroke in such patients.
Furthermore, vitamin C is rich in antioxidants that lower the risks of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, by ensuring that the arteries are always flexible and blocks the destruction of LDL cholesterol.
Reports from research have shown the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular diseases. This is supported by the reports from Harvard and Utah health care system which shows that individuals with low vitamin D levels are at risk of coronary heart diseases. This because vitamin D in adequate amounts in the body helps to maintain a healthy heart by reducing the occurrence of high blood pressure, ensure the thickening of the arterial walls and minimize or eliminate the risk of the hardening of the arteries.
Vitamins B9 (folic acid)
In addition to the numerous benefits has to offer the body, folic acid still plays a role in taking care of the heart. It ensures the decreased concentration of homocysteine in the blood, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases by acting as a coenzyme together with vitamin B12to ensure the metabolism of amino acids, methionine, and homocysteine. In the absence of folic acid, homocysteiene, an unusual protein by product could cause heart attacks or even artery damage. Folic acid is also implicated in the reduction of cholesterol levels in blood as well as help in the prevention of colon cancer.
Folic acid can be gotten from green vegetables, yeast. However, it is recommended to use supplements as it is readily absorbed to than those found in food to the tune of 50%. Other B vitamins include vitamin B6 and vitamin 12. They help improve the health of the heart by ensuring the metabolism of carbohydrates, production of red blood cells and enhances the absorption of folic acid as well the reduction of homocysteine levels.
This is another water soluble vitamin which has been helpful in promoting the well –being of the whole body including the heart. Due to the anti –oxidant properties it prevents the oxidation of radicals which could cause lots of damage and minimizes the risk of various serious illnesses including heart diseases. It is helpful to the heart because it performs some functions like improvement of the endothelial function of the cardiovascular system, reduce the occurrence of a trial fibrillation and defends against the dangerous oxidation of free radicals that could cause damage to the heart membranes as well reduces the risk of anti-inflammatory diseases due to its anti- inflammatory properties. This vitamin is abundant in foods like avocado, seeds, almonds, green vegetables, walnuts, olive, and almonds.
These are group of fat-soluble vitamins. Phylloquinone (K1) and Menaquinone (K2) are the most indispensable forms of this protein regarding blood coagulation. However, K2 is needed for strong bone formation and ensures that calcium deposits do not block the artery or other blood vessels. Vitamin K2 is beneficial to the heart’s health due to its ability to use calcium effectively. Its presence in the body stimulates the protein hormone osteotacin which binds calcium to the bone matrix inhibiting the deposition of calcium into the artery. Without the presence of vitamin K, the high levels of calcium in the body for strong teeth and bones would become dangerous. In order to prevent such negative consequences, it is important that when taken calcium, complementary nutrients like magnesium and vitamin should be added to maintain a balance and also a healthy heart. Vitamin K deficiency has been associated with the progression of artherosclerosis and other severe cardiovascular diseases.
The role vitamins play in ensuring the healthy functioning of the heart cannot be undermined. However, there is need in striking a balance a more effective results will be obtained when it is taken in combination instead of individually. Care must also be taken to consult doctors as regards the consumption of pill supplements of these vitamins especially as regards the concentration to prevent vitamin toxicity.