Micronutrients play a crucial role in human nutrition, particularly in the prevention and treatment of various diseases. Though they are needed only in small amounts, these substances are essential to produce enzymes and hormones and regulate all body functions. Micronutrient deficiencies if left untreated can lead to symptoms and ailments of many organs including the heart and blood vessels. In other words, sufficient micronutrient intake in our daily diet helps to maintain cardiac function and to prevent many common health problems faced by people today.
Now let us take a detailed look at of some of the micronutrients known to impact heart health and also learn how to include them in our everyday cooking.
Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of heart, muscles, kidneys, and other organs in the body. Magnesium deficiency is associated with higher blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. You should include varieties of nuts and legumes in your diet to avoid magnesium deficiency. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Magnesium is 340 mg/day for men and 310 mg/day for women.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in few foods. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Low levels of Vitamin D increases the risk of hypertension and diabetes, both known to cause cardiovascular disease. Intake of vitamin D-rich foods will help lower your risk of coronary heart disease. The RDA of Vitamin D is 400 IU/day.
Calcium is the key micronutrient for healthy bone and teeth. It also helps our heart, muscles, and nerves to work well. Calcium deficiency is associated with abnormal heart rhythm, also known as arrhythmia. Higher intake of calcium from food sources is known to lower the risk of atherosclerosis and maintain normal beating and pumping actions of the heart. RDA of Calcium is 600 mg/day.
Potassium helps the heart muscle to pump blood effectively throughout the body. Taking a good amount of potassium-rich foods will improve your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol and regulate your heartbeat. Low levels of potassium could cause heart rhythm disturbances and muscle weakness. RDA of potassium is 3750 mg/day for men and 3225 mg/day for women.
B vitamins like vitamin B9, B6, B12 have been linked to a healthy heart rhythm and lack of these can cause palpitation. Sources of folate (B9) include vegetables, fruits, whole or enriched grains, beans, and legumes. Pyridoxine (B6) sources include fish, vegetables, liver, meats and whole grain. RDA of Folic acid-vitamin B9 is 200 mg/day, Cobalamin-vitamin B12 is 1 mg/day and Pyridoxine-vitamin B6 is 2 mg/day.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant; it has the ability to block the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals may accelerate ageing and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. It’s through this antioxidant effect that vitamin C has an influence on heart health. RDA of Vitamin C is 40 mg/day.
This table gives the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for 100 grams of edible portion of these food substances.
Note: We recommend adequate intake of natural foods containing the above micronutrients. We do not advise the use of commercially available supplements. If you have any health concerns, please follow the dietary advise of your healthcare provider or contact us for assistance.