Individuals can help strengthen their heart valves through dietary changes, regular exercise, and managing blood pressure.

Strong heart valves are essential for a healthy heart. A strong, functional heart pumps blood around the body and keeps cells healthy. When the heart’s valves do not work properly, a person can develop symptoms of disease.

The heart comprises the following valves:

  • The tricuspid valve allows blood to flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
  • The pulmonary valve allows blood to flow from the right ventricle to the lungs, where the blood collects oxygen.
  • The mitral valve allows blood to flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
  • The aortic valve allows oxygenated blood to flow from the left ventricle and out to the body.

Problems with these valves can develop over time. However, appropriate lifestyle modifications can help maintain strong heart valves.

Read on to learn more about natural ways to strengthen heart valves, including eating a nutritious diet, exercising, managing blood pressure, and quitting smoking.

A nutritious, balanced diet is essential for heart health.

People buying fresh fruit-2.Share on Pinterest
Halfpoint Images/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend limiting the intake of processed foods and eating various fresh vegetables and fruits to prevent heart disease.

Limiting sugar intake also helps prevent diabetes, a known risk factor for heart disease.

People with diabetes have double the risk of developing heart disease or stroke compared with those without the condition.

The CDC also recommends limiting salt and alcohol intake to control blood pressure, which can damage the heart valves.

The CDC also notes that regular exercise is important for preventing heart disease.

Physical activity can help a person maintain healthy blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Additionally, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking or cycling.

A 2018 study of 5.4 million United Kingdom adults found that long-term elevated blood pressure increases a person’s risk for aortic valve stenosis or aortic valve regurgitation. Aortic valve stenosis is when the heart valves narrow, restricting blood flow, and aortic valve regurgitation is when valves leak blood back into the heart.

High blood pressure increases someone’s risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

The CDC’s recommendations for managing blood pressure include:

  • getting at least 2.5 hours of moderate to intense physical activity per week
  • eating a nutritious diet that consists of a variety of vegetables and fruit
  • limiting alcohol intake, which can affect heart health
  • avoiding smoking, which can further raise the risk of heart attack or stroke
  • keeping track of blood pressure measurements
  • managing diabetes by controlling blood glucose
  • taking prescription blood pressure medications as a doctor prescribes

While there is limited evidence on the benefits of alternative remedies. People may find the following therapies a helpful addition to conventional medical treatments for heart disease:

  • meditation
  • tai chi
  • qi gong
  • yoga
  • eating garlic, fish oil, flaxseed, and green and black tea to regulate blood pressure or manage cholesterol

However, it is important to note that these remedies should not replace any therapies a healthcare professional prescribes, such as medication to lower cholesterol.

Some people with heart valve problems may require heart surgery. A doctor may recommend surgery if symptoms significantly affect a person’s quality of life.

In the case of mitral valve regurgitation, one 2018 study reported that surgery restored the quality of life in participants. The 10-year survival rate following the procedure was 91.5% among the 83 participants.

Additionally, a 2021 study examined survival rates in 8,353 people over 60 years of age following aortic valve replacement.

The researchers found that people survived on average for:

  • 10.9 years in low risk patients
  • 7.3 years for intermediate risk patients
  • 5.8 years for high risk patients

Some people with heart valve disease do not experience symptoms.

However, others may experience a rapid onset of symptoms. It is important for a person to talk with their doctor about any change in symptoms.

Physical signs do not necessarily relate to disease severity, but symptoms to look out for include:

  • chest pain or palpitations
  • difficulty breathing
  • fatigue, weakness, or being unable to maintain a person’s typical activity level
  • lightheadedness or fainting
  • swelling of the ankles, feet, or abdomen

Additionally, certain signs, such as trouble breathing and chest pain or discomfort, require immediate medical attention.

Below are answers to common questions about strengthening heart valves.

How can I make my heart valves stronger?

A person can help keep their heart valves in healthy working order by following the above health tips, including:

  • eating a nutritious diet
  • getting daily, moderate-intensity exercise
  • keeping blood pressure in check
  • avoiding smoking, if applicable

What foods are good for heart valves?

A heart-healthy diet includes a wide variety of vegetables and omega-3-rich foods, such as oily fish and flaxseed, to help manage inflammation.

Read about more heart-healthy foods to include in meals each day.

Can a heart valve repair itself?

Heart valves cannot repair themselves, but many people with heart valve problems do not need treatment.

A doctor may recommend surgery if it is likely to significantly improve a person’s symptoms and quality of life.

Can you reverse heart valve problems?

No treatment can reverse heart valve damage, but a person can slow the progression of aortic stenosis by managing other heart conditions and risks. For instance, they can take prescription medications to:

  • lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • regulate atypical heart rhythms
  • relieve fluid buildup

The heart valves link the heart’s chambers to each other, the lungs, and the rest of the body. If they become diseased and weak, they may affect blood flow.

A person can naturally maintain heart valve health by eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, and managing blood pressure. If a person experiences a sudden change in symptoms, they should speak with a healthcare professional.