Did you know that your heart beats 100,000 times per day, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood? This organ is the key part of your cardiovascular system, together with all your blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the body and then back to the heart.
It is essential to understand how your heart works and what conditions can affect it. There are habits, foods, and supplements that can help you prevent and manage heart problems. One of the supplements associated with heart health is the pigment astaxanthin.
How the heart works
This amazing organ pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to keep you alive. Blood goes through a system of blood vessels – elastic, muscular tubes that carry blood to every part of the body.
Blood carries fresh oxygen from the lungs and nutrients to the body’s tissues. At the same time, it takes the body’s waste products, including carbon dioxide, away from the tissues. This sustains life and promotes the health of all parts of the body.
The heart is made of muscle. It has a left side and a right side, separated by a thin muscular wall. Both sides have an upper chamber and a lower chamber. The four chambers work together, contracting and relaxing to pump blood out of the heart and through heart valves.
How can you keep your heart healthy?
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, beans, skinless poultry and lean meats, and fatty fish like salmon, trout, and herring are good for your heart. On the other hand, you should avoid saturated and trans fats, salt, and added sugar.
Aerobic exercise, such as running, cycling, swimming, or brisk walking, for 30 minutes most days of the week can help prevent or manage a heart condition.
Stress can raise your blood pressure, so you might find ways to relieve tension. Exercising and getting enough sleep can help you unwind. Taking 15 minutes of quiet time every day might also be a good idea. Leaning on friends and family for support and doing things you enjoy can also help you cope.
Unhealthy habits, such as smoking, or drinking alcohol, also take a toll on your cardiovascular system. You should avoid even second-hand tobacco smoke because it can damage your heart. As for alcohol, one drink a day for women, or two for men should suffice if you want to keep your heart healthy.
Astaxanthin heart benefits
A heart-healthy lifestyle can always use some extra push. The best nutrients to add to your diet are magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Another supplement that is showing a lot of promise is astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment that acts as a powerful antioxidant and has well-known benefits for eye, skin, and brain health. Yet, studies have also revealed that it can reduce the risk of heart disease by helping with several cardiovascular conditions.
There are two types of cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein or HDL often called good cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein or LDL, also known as bad cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol can contribute to artery-clogging plaque. Good cholesterol, on the other hand, can help remove plaque and help protect you from getting heart disease. Having too much of the bad, or not enough of the good, can lead to heart disease.
According to a study, astaxanthin decreases the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases the level of HDL (good) cholesterol.
A study on adults with metabolic syndrome showed that astaxanthin supported healthy blood flow by promoting arterial health. Another study showed that supplementing with 6mg of astaxanthin per day for only ten days showed a significant improvement in blood flow.
Your body produces C-reactive protein, or CRP when there’s inflammation happening somewhere in your body. If your arteries are inflamed, you have a greater risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease.
A study showed that subjects given astaxanthin for eight weeks experienced a 20 percent reduction in CRP levels.
Oxidative stress is a condition that occurs when there’s an imbalance in your body and free radicals exceed antioxidants. It can lead to cell and tissue breakdown and impact multiple aspects of your health. Among other things, it can cause hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart failure, and stroke.
Thanks to its antioxidant effects, astaxanthin can decrease oxidative stress on the heart and blood vessels to support cardiovascular health.
Around 7.6 million people are living with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK. More than 460 of them will die today.
The heart is not just a muscle. It is the most important muscle in your body. This powerhouse, roughly the size of your fist, works ceaselessly to keep your body freshly supplied with oxygen and nutrients while clearing away harmful waste matter.
You can help your heart work most efficiently by adopting healthy habits and giving it all the necessary nutrients through diet and the right supplements.