The Top Four Foods for a Healthy Heart
A healthy heart is characterized by the following four physiological states:
- Healthy Endothelial Cells
- Low Vascular Inflammation
- Healthy Blood Pressure
- Healthy Heart Cell Energy
Here are the best food sources for each one of the physiological states required for a healthy heart.
Healthy Endothelial Cells – Pomegranate
Endothelial cells line the inside of arteries. If these cells are healthy, the artery is healthy. One of the most promising protective agents for endothelial cells is pomegranate. Packed with unique antioxidants that guard the endothelial cells against free-radical assault, pomegranate has been shown to offer amazing cardiovascular support.
In clinical studies, pomegranate shows great promise in averting the numerous pathological changes associated with cardiovascular disease. Life Extension® scientists believe pomegranate works through several mechanisms to support endothelial cells:1
- Reducing Oxidative Stress
- Supporting the Synthesis & Activity of Nitric Oxide
- Inhibiting the Oxidation of LDL-cholesterol
Ease Vascular Inflammation – Omega-3 Fats
While the polyunsaturated fats known as omega-6 fatty acids are essential to life, most Americans and citizens of other Western nations consume far too many omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and not enough omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In fact, some Western diets consist of 20 parts of omega-6 to only one part of omega-3. For optimum heart health, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be between 1:1 and 4:1. The severe imbalance that occurs with most people contributes to the development of vascular inflammation.2
When blood vessels are inflamed, endothelial cells become damaged and this results in arterial plaque progression — the number one killer in this country. Salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds are jam-packed with omega-3 fats.
Healthy Blood Pressure – Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract, which is already known to confer a wealth of health benefits, contains high concentrations of polyphenols, potent antioxidants that naturally increase blood vessel dilation. This dilation naturally increases blood flow while maintaining healthy blood pressure.
A recent study sought to ascertain the effects of administering grape seed extract to pre-hypertensive subjects. Twenty-four patients with a mean blood pressure of 130/79 mmHg were treated for four weeks with either placebo or 150 mg or 300 mg of a standardized, polyphenol-rich grape seed extract.
Both doses of the extract significantly reduced blood pressure when compared to baseline levels. The researchers concluded that grape seed extract may be beneficial in helping all people maintain healthy blood pressure.3
Heart Cell Energy – Carnitine
Heart cells require a constant supply of energy. The amino acid carnitine helps to deliver energy sources into the heart cells for proper functioning of the heart — including rhythm and rate.
The following table lists common food sources rich in carnitine. However, the effective dose for carnitine is 1000 mg/day. Notice that each food type does not contain nearly that much. This is why daily supplementation with carnitine is critical for a healthy heart.