Many of us consider ourselves workaholics, as we try to balance family, friends and livelihoods. Our bodies, diligently operating on our behalf to sustain health, are workaholics, too. And there’s no harder working body part than the heart.
An average human heart beats at 72 beats per minute. And when you do the math, that calculates to about 2.5 billion times during an average lifespan of 66 years.
Want to take care of your heart? Here are three heart-friendly supplements and herbs you can try:
Hawthorn. A hardy, flowering shrub that’s native to northern Europe and which grows in many parts of the world, hawthorn has been used for its health-promoting properties since ancient times.
Numerous human clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of this herb to promote healthy cardiovascular function by supporting contractions of the heart muscle, healthy blood pressure already within normal limits, and healthy coronary artery blood flow and pressure. In addition to providing support to the heart, hawthorn has antioxidant properties and may help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Garlic. In addition to its culinary uses, garlic (Allium sativum) supports cardiovascular health and platelet function, maintains healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits, and can support blood pressure within normal limits when it becomes part of a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Garlic bulbs, the most commonly used part of the plant, contain numerous phytochemicals, including a sulfur-containing substance called alliin, which is a compound derived from the amino acid cysteine. It’s the precursor to another compound, allicin, believed to be the primary active ingredient in garlic.
CoQ10. CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound that’s used by the mitochondria, the energy-producing parts of cells. CoQ10 is most highly concentrated in the cells of organs that need the most energy, such as the heart. CoQ10 has been shown to support healthy heart function and to have the potential to maintain blood pressure levels already within normal range.
What’s your favorite way to love your heart? Share it with us in the comments below.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.