Vitamins are essential nutrients that our body needs to stay healthy. Some of these vitamins are known to prevent cardiovascular ailments.
Vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene are antioxidant vitamins, needed to keep our heart healthy. Antioxidants prevent oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. Oxidation of cholesterol occurs when bad cholesterol is exposed to oxygen. Oxidation causes the cholesterol to deposit and stick to the walls of the arteries. Over time, the cholesterol, depositing on the arterial wall lining, become hardened forming plague.
This causes blockage of arteries, raising the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant vitamin, which prevents heart attacks by inhibiting oxidation of cholesterol. The antioxidant capability of vitamin E is further enhanced with the consumption of vitamin C. It is recommended that an adult person should take 400IU of vitamin E per day. Vitamin E also makes the blood thin. Nuts, such as almond and walnuts, whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, sunflower oil and safflower oil are rich sources of vitamin E. You will get vitamin C from citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, berries, asparagus and broccoli. Beta-carotene, which is a type of vitamin A, is also noted for its antioxidant property. It is present in dark green, red and orange colored fruits and vegetables.
According to studies, B vitamins and especially folic acid are good for the heart. They inhibit the activities of homocysteine in the body.
Homocysteine is a type of amino acid, also known as ‘new cholesterol’. It is believed to be a major factor responsible for heart attack. Homocysteine is a by-product produced during the metabolism of methionine, a type of amino acid commonly found in animal protein. B vitamins help to break homocysteine in the body. Folic acid, vitamins B6, B12 and choline also reduces the level of homocysteine in the blood.
According to latest studies, cardiovascular diseases could be linked to deficiency in vitamin D. Risk of heart diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency, is particularly high among individuals suffering from problems of high blood pressure. Milk, milk products, salmon, sardines, mackerel and cod liver oil are rich sources of vitamin D.