The heart is one of the most vital organs of your body. It is a muscular organ which serves as your very own internal “pump”. This fist-size pump may seem to be a small part of you, but it is responsible for the transportation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the different tissues and organs of your body via blood circulation.
You only have one heart. Unlike other organs that come in pairs like the lungs, kidneys, ovaries and eyes, you heart has no backup in case it failsâ€¦ no “plan B” should it stop working. Unless you have millions of Pesos to pay for risky heart surgery, it’s best to just take care and keep your one and only heart – together with the other organs and tissues of the cardiovascular system – in tip top shape.
Keeping your overall health in mint condition naturally gives you a healthy heart. However, there are some people, no matter how young and healthy they look physically, are genetically more inclined to develop cardiovascular problems like hypertension and heart disease. There are also those who just don’t want to risk messing up with their only blood pump, so keeping it healthy is a priority.
For those who want to keep extra care of their heart, here’s some good news for you: science has been able to pinpoint certain nutrients that can contribute to the well-being of your cardiovascular system. These are called “heart vitamins” and can be found both naturally in food and in your local pharmacy in form of oral supplements. By including heart vitamins in your daily diet, you get a better chance of fighting the onset of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
Here are some of the most known and widely-recommended heart vitamins available today:
Vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine), Vitamin B9 (also known as folate or folic acid), and Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamine or cyanocobalamine in supplement form) are the B Vitamins that are responsible for helping the body remove homocysteine (i.e. an amino acid used normally by the body in cellular metabolism and the manufacture of proteins) from the blood. Elevated concentrations of homocysteine in the blood may increase risk of developing heart disease by enhancing blood clotting and damaging blood vessel lining.
Vitamin B3 (known commonly as niacin) has also been seen by some studies as a B vitamin that may improve heart health. According to some studies, Vitamin B3 helps reduce bad cholesterol and increases levels of the good type. Lower cholesterol levels (the bad type) contributes in achieving good heart health.
Naturally, you can find most of the B vitamins in whole, unprocessed foods, especially meat and meat products like liver and tuna. Other good sources for B vitamins are whole grains, potatoes, bananas and beans. It is recommended to have 50mg of Vitamin B3 and B6, 1,000-2,000 mcg of Vitamin B12 and about 400 mcg of Vitamin B9 everyday.
All B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they can easily be destroyed by cooking and any form of heating, so we are encouraged to replenish them regularly. If you think you can’t get the recommended daily allowance from food, there are affordable oral supplements available in local pharmacies.