The following 12 nutrients, either obtained from foods or taken as supplements, will help reduce your risk of getting coronary heart disease or dangerously high cholesterol. If you are already suffering, the following can be beneficial in conjunction with your current treatment.
1 Omega-3 fatty acids
A big study recently reported that fish oils decrease dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides by an average of 29 per cent and lower cholesterol by 12 per cent (lowering bad LDL cholesterol by 32 per cent and increasing HDL by 10 per cent).
They also bring down inflammation, which is what can make plaque form in the first place. Linseeds (flax seeds) and their oils are also good.
2 Vitamins A, C, E
These highly beneficial antioxidant vitamins all have the ability to prevent deposits, including fats, sticking to artery walls and can help to prevent damage to the arterial linking caused by free radicals. Best sources of A are fish oil, egg yolk, liver; C is richest in citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, red peppers, peas; E in avocados, chickpeas, almonds, tuna, sunflower oil and muesli.
Most of us are deficient in this valuable antioxidant mineral, which works with vitamin E to mop up damaging free radicals. It is found in lentils, wholemeal bread, sardines and Brazil nuts.
Studies have shown that allicin, which is found most abundantly in garlic and also to a lesser degree in onions and leeks, may help preventing blood clots from forming in coronary arteries. It is known to have blood-thinning properties.
5 Folic acid
Folic acid helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with high blood levels of homocysteine. It is found mainly in green leafy vegetable, mushrooms, pulses, nuts, fruits and root vegetables.
6 Co-enzyme Q10
This is an antioxidant and is also a vital energy-releasing component and cardiac muscle strengthener. Levels of Co-Q10 in the system lesson due to old age, stress and illness; satin drugs reduce it further. Co-Q10 can be found in lean meat.
Flavonoids inhibit the action of platelets, which are the blood cells that join to form blood clots. They are antioxidants that also help the absorption and action of vitamin C. Flavonoids can be found in fruit and vegetable, especially apples and onions.
8 Monounsaturated fatty acids
These lower the levels of potentially harmful LDL cholesterol and maintain the necessary levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. They can be found in rapeseed, walnut and groundnut oils, and avocados. Olive oil is another useful source and extra-virgin olive oil also contain protective antioxidants.
9 Vitamin B6
This vitamin is essential for reducing levels of damaging amino acid homocysteine. B6 can be found in fish, pulses, nuts, chicken and potatoes.
These are currently under investigation as their health giving properties seem prolific and include the ability to fight coronary heart disease. They reduce excess cholesterol and are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They are found in soy, watermelon, onions, garlic, broccoli and even in tea.
This is a carotenoid noted for its use in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. It is fat-soluble and is therefore more efficiently absorbed when eaten with oil. It can be found in raw tomatoes and in any tomato product.
This is another carotenoid, which makes fruit brightly coloured. It helps to prevent the build-up of toxins in the arteries as well as having many other health-giving properties. It is found in spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes.