Nutrient Deficiencies and Heart Disease


Are you sure that your diet is giving you enough of the essential vitamins and minerals? If you eat a very healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, you may not have cause for concern, but the typical American diet is not known to be the most healthy.

With heart disease being the number one killer of women, we need to pay special attention to the following 5 nutrient deficiencies that can cause cardiovascular disease.

Magnesium – Most people are unaware of the enormous role magnesium plays in our overall health. From inflammation to depression and migraines, magnesium is essential to prevention of health problems. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor of heart disease. Foods rich in magnesium: dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale), nuts and seeds, fish, avocado, bananas, and low-fat yogurt. If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, check with your doctor about the correct amount.

Vitamin D – Low levels of vitamin D will increase your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin D also helps your body use calcium from your diet. Foods rich in vitamin D: salmon, tuna, fortified orange juice, egg yolks. If a vitamin D supplement is needed, your doctor can tell you the correct amount for your deficiency.

Calcium – Calcium deficiency is associated with abnormal heart rhythms as well as osteoporosis. Do your heart and bones a favor by eating more of these foods: cheese, yogurt, milk, fortified cereals, or soybeans.

Potassium – According to Harvard Medical School, low potassium can cause heart rhythm disruptions and muscle weakness. Be careful with supplements, as excessive levels of potassium could lead to heartbeat irregularities. Your doctor will help you monitor this level. Potassium rich foods include potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, kidney beans, bananas, avocado, salmon, tuna, acorn squash and milk.

B vitamins – A study in Japan found that women who consumed higher amounts of folate and vitamin B-6 had fewer strokes and deaths from heart failure. Foods highest in vitamin B-6 are wild caught tuna, bananas, salmon, grass-fed beef, spinach, sweet potato and hazelnuts.

You should talk to your doctor about blood tests to determine if you are deficient in any of these nutrients. Incorporating more nutrient dense foods and taking supplements could be a big step in preventing heart disease. The doctors at The Woman’s Clinic will work individually with you to determine your risk for heart disease and what treatments will be best.

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