Heart Health: Are Supplements the Answer?

So, you’re driving home from the doctor’s office and they’ve just informed you that you are at an increased risk of stroke due to cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or some other heart health concern. What do you do? Do you turn to supplements? Or, do you alter your eating habits and levels of physical activity to make your heart stronger? Well, the answer may be different for each person. So, here are some tips on determining the right solution for you, or your client.

The first thing I’ll say is that, no matter what you do, you need to consider your diet and start cutting out foods that are bad for your heart and learn to incorporate heart healthy foods. Even if you decide that supplements are the right choice for you, it’s important to remember that they are exactly what their title says, “Supplements”. They are designed to supplement your healthy diet and lifestyle. Just to get you started, here are the Top 5 foods that we recommend you avoid if you’re focusing on heart health.

  1. Processed Foods (i.e.: boxed meals, snacks, etc)
  2. Fried Foods
  3. Regular Soda
  4. High fat, sugary foods (i.e.: cakes, cookies, brownies, etc)
  5. Fatty meats

Okay, so at this point, you’ve made the decision to eat healthier. Now comes the time to decide if supplements are the right choice for you. Supplements have been proven to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), especially Omega-3 and fish oils. So, if you’re looking to take your efforts up a notch, incorporating supplements will help you accomplish that goal. If you’re being completely proactive and working to prevent any heart related illnesses, then supplements may not be what you need.
Now that you have an idea of what you’re going for; diet change and/or supplements, it may be a good time to consult your doctor. You’ve learned the potential benefits of supplements. But, you should not doubt the professional medical opinion of a trusted physician.

Heart health is an important concern that often gets pushed off until a person is forced to face it because of a stroke or other major medical incident. Be sure to get your heart in check before it’s too late. If you’re a dietitian or physician, take advantage of every opportunity to teach your patients about heart health and how they too can have a healthy heart!

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