It is well known that Vitamins from natural sources like the Mediterranean foods may help prevent us from various diseases. For the prevention of diseases that can affect the heart, different groups of vitamins act on the metabolism of the body. This way they contribute to the suppression of factors that gradually cause vascular lesions leading to coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction.
We can get various kinds of vitamins and combinations through pharmaceuticals or chemical supplements. But it is still far better if our body gets the different vitamins it needs from natural sources which are mainly fruits, vegetables and other Mediterranean foods.
It should be emphasized that the pharmaceutical industrialized vitamin preparations do not contain the multitude of other nutrients and beneficial elements contained within the natural foods. The other elements found in natural foods act in synergy with vitamins achieving more beneficial effects on the human body.
Let’s look at the group of vitamins that have beneficial effects on the heart and the kind of Mediterranean foods that contain these vitamins.
The vitamins that have antioxidant activity: This group includes vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene.Essential vitamins protect these tissues and cells of the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. The radicals are produced during normal metabolism of our body.
When our cells use glucose and fats to generate energy, free radicals are produced. This causes oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL thereby creating atherosclerosis plaques with deposition of cholesterol in the arteries of the heart.
So we see that free radicals contribute to the narrowing of the arteries and the risk for heart attacks. In a similar way that the roots are causing damage to DNA cells, contribute to the genesis of cancer.
The main natural sources of antioxidant vitamins, which are also part of the Mediterranean diet are:
Vitamin C: citrus, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, green leafy vegetables,
Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, eggs, fish, whole grains, legumes
Beta carotene: Oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, peaches, spinach, red peppers, vegetables, yellow and green like zucchini, pumpkin and the other salad
Remember that it is far more beneficial to our body, to receive the vitamins it needs from natural sources rather than chemically prepared supplements.
Vitamins B: Niacin is vitamin B3. In high doses has the ability to lower total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It can also increase good cholesterol HDL.
These positive effects of niacin are interesting because they reduce the risk for heart disease. However, niacin should only be granted on medical advice. The high doses can damage the liver, gout and high blood glucose.
The vitamin B complex offered by the pharmaceutical industry in the form of a supplement, contains vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12 and folic acid.
Folic acid has the ability to lower blood homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid which occurs naturally in the body. The high levels contribute to the narrowing of arteries and thrombosis. Taking folic acid helps prevent against heart attacks and strokes.
Natural sources of folic acid are:
Legumes, peas, Nuts, seeds, Orange juice, whole grains Green leafy vegetables and spinach. All of which are part, components, of the Mediterranean diet.
Most people can, and should try to, get their daily amount of folic acid they need from their Mediterranean diet. The daily quantity necessary, amounts to 400 micrograms.