Nutrition is a big focus in the Heart Health Initiative—and that’s because your diet directly impacts the health of your heart. While certain nutrients can support cardiovascular wellness, did you know they can also impact the health of the whole body? The great nutritional choices you make extend well beyond the health of the heart.


Here are just two ways heart-healthy nutrients benefit the whole body:


Balance of Fats: Ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are well known for supporting heart health, but they also have implications in brain health. In particular, the ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s you consume may be important—often, reducing the ratio (less Omega-6s and more Omega-3s) may be beneficial. Primarily found in oils (including safflower, cottonseed, soybean and corn), Omega-6s are nutrients that are essential and healthy but may have health consequences when consumed in excess. Omega-3s DHA and EPA are found in fish oil, krill oil and algal (vegan) sources. According to research published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, “This ratio [of Omega-3s to Omega-6s] influences … processes that are vital in the maintenance of normal brain function.”


Energy Production: CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential component of the electron transport chain that supports cellular energy production. Every cell in your body relies on an energy source called adenosine triphosphate (ATP); CoQ10 assists in transforming food into ATP more efficiently. We can always use more energy, and supporting energy production is especially important for athletes. Just think how much energy you expend during a workout!


Focusing on heart health is critical; after all, a healthy heart is necessary for maintaining total wellness. But while you may be focusing specifically on heart-supportive nutrients, there are other benefits of good nutrition. If you’re eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you are taking the first and greatest step toward supporting total wellness. Combined with regular exercise, plenty of sleep and rest, and low stress levels, you are on your way to a healthy body and vital life!


What are some ways you support total wellness? Please share your thoughts or tips in the comments.


[1] http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/12728744