The Word on Supplements
Fiber. The daily recommendation is 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber daily—men over 50 should try for 38 grams a day. If bowel movements and GI tract function are normal, most people don’t need to supplement; if not, there are lots of good supplements on the market.
Fish oil. Again, most doctors advise getting your omega-3 acids from foods, not supplements. “The data really is mixed on how much fish oil supplements help to decrease mortality,” says Dr. Shiraz. “I don’t usually advocate an omega-3 supplement, but there’s no danger in taking one.”
Garlic. Not only does it make food delicious, it also could slow the buildup of plaque in your arteries and lower blood pressure. “It certainly can help, and using garlic in food is one of those things that help reduce inflammation,” says Dr. Shiraz. “Fresh garlic is good for you, but there’s no evidence that garlic supplements help reduce heart disease.”
Turmeric. “Most of the studies showing turmeric’s health and prevention benefits have not been duplicated here in the U.S.,” Dr. Shiraz notes, “so we can’t call for a turmeric supplement as standard of care. But in food preparation I believe turmeric absolutely can help and certainly doesn’t hurt.”
Coenzyme Q10. This antioxidant is thought to be important protection against many forms of CAD. “CoQ10 is a crucial molecule in our bodies,” says Dr. Shiraz, “but it’s hard to know whether supplements do more good than food, because most folks have enough in their bodies. Your doctor can’t measure it. So it’s another ‘might help, can’t hurt’ supplement.”