Multivitamins and Heart Health
According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2011-2012), about 30% of Americans are using multivitamin and mineral supplements (MVM); usage that projects the supplement industry will reach $278 BILLION by 2024. With so many of us taking these nutritional supplements, you may think we are on our way to the epitome of health – think again. In previous newsletters we explained that supplement usage has been linked to heart and liver damage and riskier lifestyle behaviors. Instead of taking a MVM for cardiovascular disease (CVD), a new study from the American Heart Association urges us to adopt habits that have been shown effective in moving the needle towards reduced risk of heart attack or death from CVD.
As published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a comprehensive meta-analysis reviewed 18 studies that included data from more than 2 million participants over 12 years. Their expansive research joins the body of evidence that MVM do not help reduce CVD risk. Alternatively, a focus on increased fruit and vegetable consumption is well known to be effective in delivering a good source of many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve circulation and promote overall heart health. Pivoting to fruits and vegetables could also contribute to increased consumption which is starkly lacking - almost 90% of Americans do not meet daily recommendations for these food groups.
Nutrients of focus are:
Fiber: Lowers the level of “bad” LD cholesterol and may decrease the risk of heart disease
Good sources include: apples, green peas, prunes, berries, dates, pears, beans and whole grains
Antioxidants: Prevent oxidative stress and promote cardiovascular health.
Found in most produce including: Pineapples, berries, Brussels sprouts, kiwis, prunes, spinach and tomatoes
Potassium: Helps maintain normal blood pressure
Found in: Bananas, acorn squash, potatoes, broccoli, kiwis beans and prunes
Folate: Decreases homocysteine, which, at high levels, can lead to artery blockage
Found in: broccoli, spinach, asparagus and oranges
So, to really get the maximum benefit of vitamins and minerals, instead of supplements that try to artificially bestow the same benefits, just eat fresh produce instead! This Valentine’s Day, why not serve our Green Toast with Strawberries
(includes sources of potassium, whole grains, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants) to your sweetheart in the spirit of heart month.