How can I keep my heart healthy?
If you are a healthy individual, you may not think twice about your heart health. However, coronary
heart disease (CHD) is way more common than you'd think. Heart disease remains the 2nd leading
cause of death in Canada and the world after cancer, and 1 in 12 Canadian adults over 20 years old
live with diagnosed heart disease. Don’t worry though – there are many steps we can take to help
keep our hearts healthy.
Where do I begin?
A great place to start is by making healthy lifestyle choices, avoiding processed foods, sugars and
excess carbohydrates, doing regular exercise and making sure you get enough rest. In addition,
getting ample amounts of antioxidants can be critical to supporting and protecting your heart.
Antioxidants: protectors of the heart! Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules
that can damage your cells’ structure and functions. When the balance between free radicals and
antioxidants becomes upset, oxidative stress occurs. Too much oxidative stress puts us at risk for
chronic inflammation which can be a contributing factor in the development of cardiovascular
Which antioxidants can benefit my heart?
Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin benefits your heart as it helps to reduce inflammation. Its unique molecular structure
provides resilient protection against oxidative stress. It also extinguishes free radicals in both the
inner and outer layers of the cellular membrane. Interestingly, consuming omega-3-rich krill oil can
be a great way to reap the benefits of this antioxidant.
Krill fish are extremely rich in EPA and DHA omega-3s (also beneficial for heart health), but they
actually feed on algae that contain astaxanthin, which is responsible for giving krill oil its red hue
(and flamingos their pink hue). The dual benefit makes krill oil a great choice for heart care!
CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring fat-soluble antioxidant found in our cells. It’s vital to
heart health. Our body produces CoQ10 in the liver, but it can also be obtained from food. It’s found
in high concentrations in organ meats or in fatty fish, and to a lesser extent in some fruits, vegetables,
nuts and seeds. The maximum health benefits of CoQ10 are derived from its antioxidant capacity and
involvement in energy production.
Ubiquinol is the most bioactive form of the coenzyme CoQ10. Ubiquinol improves your heart health
as it helps prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, thereby lowering your risk of experiencing heart
Catch 22: Most individuals experience a decline in coenzyme Q10 levels as they age: either from normal,
inevitable decline or as a result of routine usage of prescribed medication such as statins.
Statins are a common class of drugs that are often prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels.
Research suggests that supplemental Red Yeast Rice, which has natural cholesterol-lowering statin-
like properties, can help reduce oxidative stress markers in the body. It can also increase the activity
of antioxidant enzymes without evoking nutrient depletion over time.
Cholesterol control: Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation go hand in hand as the culprits of cardiovascular disease.
This is because inflammation results in the production of free radicals, which then oxidize LDL
Like a bandaid, cholesterol collects at damaged artery sites to patch up nicks in vessel walls. When
too much cholesterol is sent to the inflamed area, it builds up at artery sites, which is where it gets its
bad reputation. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol triggers increased fat cell production and
plaque formation, which over long periods of time can put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack.
Eat a rainbow! And, get ample amounts of this…
Colourful vegetables and fruits provide phytonutrients which are important free radical scavengers.
Consuming whole foods rich in fibre and good fats often helps keep triglyceride levels healthy,
stabilize blood sugar and promote healthy bowel movement for even better cholesterol control.
Foods like: psyllium, oatmeal, omega-3 healthy fats, fresh fish, nuts and seeds are ideal choices to pair
with vibrant fruits and dark leafy greens.
Your heart health matters: While consuming good wholesome food sources is a great place to start, it can be tough to get all the
critical nutrients we need to help with cell repair and antioxidant protection on an ongoing basis. The
good news? There are formulas that combine a lot of these antioxidants for a more comprehensive,
therapeutic and convenient approach to daily heart care.