Statistics shows that many Americans deal with cardiovascular issue, and clogged arteries are the leading cause of these ailments.
The role of these blood vessels is to carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body, and when healthy, they are elastic, flexible, strong, and free of deposits.
However, they often become clogged, hard, and narrowed, due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. This condition is also known as atherosclerosis and results in a lowered flow of blood through the arteries.
The blockage of arteries is a prolonged process, which develops gradually, and is often caused by bad dietary and lifestyle habits.
However, you can prevent such issues by consuming healthy foods, and the following 12 are the best to keep your arteries clean:
Another healthy food to cleanse your arteries naturally is garlic.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants that help inhibit the action of free radicals, making it an essential ingredient in preventing heart problems and blocked arteries.
Regular intake of garlic reduces the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. It also widens blood vessels, improves blood circulation and helps prevent hardening of the aorta.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition reports that aged garlic extract aids in reducing coronary plaque volume in patients with metabolic syndrome.
- Eat 1 to 2 cloves of raw garlic on an empty stomach each morning.
- You can also include garlic in soups, stews, casseroles and salad dressings.
Pomegranates contain a high level of antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body. They also aid in reducing fatty deposits in the arteries, thus helping prevent serious problems like atherosclerosis.
This fruit also stimulates the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps keep your arteries open and your blood flowing. This prevents plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries.
A 2004 study published in Clinical Nutrition reports that patients with carotid artery stenosis who drank pomegranate juice for three years saw reduced common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation.
A 2013 study published in Atherosclerosis notes that pomegranate extract has atheroprotective effects that appear to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the vessel walls.
- Eat 1 to 2 fresh pomegranates daily.
- You can also drink a glass of freshly extracted pomegranate juice once daily.
3. Green Tea
Green tea – especially nutrient-rich Matcha green tea – contains high levels of catechins, antioxidant plant phenols which hinder the absorption of cholesterol during digestion. Enjoy a cup or two of green tea every day to improve your blood-lipid levels and help reduce arterial blockage. Green tea also provides a natural boost to the metabolism which can help you to lose weight, further bolstering your cardiovascular health.
This tasty and nutritious green leafy vegetable has many health benefits, including heart health.
Spinach is a rich source of nitric oxide, which makes arteries resist contraction, plaque and blood coagulation, which in turn reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
A 2015 study published in Clinical Nutrition Research reports that 7-day consumption of spinach as an inorganic nitrate source in a vegetable can help reduce postprandial arterial stiffness.
In addition, its high content of vitamins A and C helps prevent bad cholesterol from adhering to the arterial walls and thus reduces your risk of atherosclerosis.
Spinach is also high in potassium and folic acid, both of which are main lines of defense against high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Eat at least ½ cup of spinach daily. You can enjoy this green vegetable in salads, soups, vegetable juice or in a green smoothie.
Asparagus is a natural artery-clearing food. It can lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots.
The B vitamins, especially B6, in asparagus help lower homocysteine (an amino acid linked to heart disease) and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) levels.
A 2005 study published in Circulation reports that elevated homocysteine levels indicate an increased risk of CAD and blood clots in the arteries and veins. To lower the elevated levels, vegetables like asparagus are helpful due to the high folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 content.
It also stimulates the body’s production of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps fight inflammation and prevent damaging oxidation that can lead to clogged or blocked arteries. Plus, the vitamin K in asparagus prevents hardening of the arteries and keeps calcium out of the arterial linings.
Eat this tasty vegetable on a regular basis as much as possible. You can eat it as an appetizer or side dish.
Avocados contain a good amount of healthy fats and other important nutrients that improve blood cholesterol by lowering LDL and raising HDL levels. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) is the good cholesterol that helps keep arteries clear of obstructions.
A 1996 study published in the Archives of Medical Research reports that high monounsaturated fatty acids in a diet rich in avocados can improve lipid profiles in healthy and especially in mild hypercholesterolemic patients, even if hypertriglyceridemia (combined hyperlipidemia) is present.
Also, the vitamin E in avocados prevents cholesterol oxidization. They also have folate that helps reduce dangerous homocysteine levels in the blood, along with potassium that helps lower blood pressure.
Aim to include ½ avocado daily in your diet. You can even use it as a healthy substitute for butter or cream on bread and toast.
Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which aid in improving heart health.
Curcumin helps protect the cardiovascular system from damage by reducing and preventing blockages of the arteries. Plus, it lowers the level of LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, to reduce buildup in the arteries.
A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology found turmeric to be effective in preventing blocked arteries and improving heart health. The study reports that the improvement of coronary artery permeability by curcumin may be related to its anti-inflammatory effect.
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk. Drink it 1 or 2 times daily.
- You can opt to take curcumin supplements of 400 to 600 mg, 3 times daily. However, consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Broccoli is another vegetable that is loaded with vitamin K which helps to prevent calcification or hardening of arteries. Eating vitamin- and antioxidant-packed broccoli can also help to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol which can lead to serious heart conditions. This super healthy veggie also offers a heart-healthy dose of fiber which helps to normalize blood-pressure and reduce stress that may cause tears (and eventually plaque build-up) in arterial walls.
An apple a day is the secret recipe for clean arteries.
Apples contain a particular type of fiber known as pectin, which reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. This is done by interfering with the intestinal absorption of bile acids, which forces the liver to use circulating cholesterol to make more bile.
Furthermore, the high amount of flavonoids in apples helps reduce your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
Also, the potassium and magnesium in apples help keep your blood pressure under control.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods reports that eating an apple a day can help keep the cardiologist away. In healthy, middle-aged adults, consumption of one apple a day for four weeks lowered by 40 percent blood levels of a substance linked to hardening of the arteries.
Enjoy 1 fresh apple daily, preferably organic ones. Also, eat it with the skin to reap the maximum health benefits.
10. Chia Seeds
A prized food item of the Mayan and Aztec cultures, chia seeds have a myriad of health benefits. It is the richest plant based source of omega 3 fatty acids. The combination of omega 3 fatty acids and fibre make chia seeds the most heart friendly food. It can decrease bad cholesterol, manage blood pressure and clear your arteries.
This versatile and delicious food can be eaten in a number of ways.
- Add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Use this gel-like mixture in your smoothies. You can also add it in other recipes, even in baking recipes.
- Another option is to sprinkle dry chia seeds on yogurt and oatmeal. If you prefer them crunchy then sprinkle on dry foods like salads.
Since chia seeds absorb a lot of water, it is important that you stay sufficiently hydrated when eating them.
One of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), flaxseeds are known for their ability to reduce blood-pressure and inflammation, helping to keep arteries clear of obstructions and improve overall heart health.
Cranberries are another antioxidant-rich food which can help to improve cardiovascular health by reducing LDL and raising HDL cholesterol levels. In fact, cranberry juice has more antioxidant power than all but one other fruit juice (100% red or black grape being the exception.) Enjoy two servings of 100% pure organic cranberry juice daily to protect your heart and improve your health.