In addition to making heart-healthy lifestyle changes, you may be able to increase your defense against heart disease with the natural substances below. It's important to note that none of the following natural substances have been proven to prevent heart disease. If you're at a high risk for heart disease, consult your physician about which approaches might work best for preserving your heart health.
A number of studies have demonstrated that flaxseed may signficantly lower total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. Postmenopausal women and individuals with higher cholesterol levels may be more likely to benefit from flaxseed's cholesterol-fighting effects.
2) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies show that boosting your levels of omega-3 fatty acids (by eating fish or taking fish oil supplements) may help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check, slow the progression of atherosclerosis, and lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and death among people with cardiovascular disease.
Preliminary research indicates that garlic may hinder the development of atherosclerosis. However, studies on garlic's cholesterol- and blood-pressure-lowering effects have yielded mixed results.
4) Vitamin D
In a 2009 study of 3,408 older adults, scientists discovered that participants with inadequate vitamin D levels were three times more likely to die from heart disease compared to participants with optimal D levels. Previous research shows that vitamin D may help protect against a number of cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and inflammation.
Findings from pilot research and animal studies suggest that the herbal remedy hawthorn extract may help lower blood pressure, reduce levels of blood fats, and aid in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
To date, there's a lack of human-based research on the cardiovascular benefits of resveratrol (an antioxidant naturally found in the skin of grapes and available in supplement form). However, a 2008 study of mice found that regular intake of resveratrol helped shield the animals from age-related declines in heart health.