Nutrition Advice You Can Take to Heart

WebMD's top 5 vitamins and minerals for heart health

By Denise Mann
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

Proper nutrition -- including a low fat, high fiber diet -- is considered so important to heart health that just about every set of guidelines touches on what you should eat, what you shouldn't eat, how you should eat it, and when you should eat it.

In fact, government guidelines for treating blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity -- three top risk factors for heart disease -- all emphasize diet as a means of getting your numbers where they belong.

"There is no question that nutrition is the single most important factor in the prevention of coronary artery disease," says Thomas Barringer, MD, the medical director of the Center for Cardiovascular Health at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. "It definitely comes down to nutrition."

That's why WebMD put together a list of the top five vitamins and minerals you need for optimal heart health. Starting with:

Making More Magnesium Mandatory

Large studies have linked magnesium deficiency to high blood pressure, while some have shown an association between magnesium supplements and a decreased risk of death from heart disease.

"Some researchers say that, as a nation, we could cut our rate of heart disease by one-half if we took more magnesium," says City Island, N.Y.-based Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of The Miracle of Magnesium. "Magnesium is the body's natural calcium channel blocker. It balances out the excess calcium that is associated with the heart going into muscle spasm, which equals a heart attack."