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Do I need nutrient supplements to maintain heart health?

In general, a well-balanced diet that limits fats and carbohydrates -- meaning a diet of fruits and vegetables (due to their natural minerals and antioxidants) and lean meats and fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids -- is important for heart health. Most randomized trials that have looked at specific nutrient supplementation (in excess of what would be obtained from a prudent diet) have found either no benefit or potential harm to heart health.
You don't have to take nutrient supplements to maintain heart health. Large doses of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, won't protect against high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating a balanced, nutritious diet that's low in calories, sodium and cholesterol, as well as low in saturated and trans fats.

The AHA does, however, recommend an omega-3 supplement for heart health if you don't eat two servings of fish a week. If you have heart disease, consider taking 1 gram a day, but talk to your doctor first.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.