The prevalence of cardiovascular conditions is increasing day by day, and more people are dying from them. One of the key risks for developing a cardiovascular disease is clogged arteries.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are flexible, strong, elastic and free from any deposits.
But when fat, cholesterol and other substances build up in the arteries, they can become clogged and eventually narrow and harden. This condition, which results in reduced blood flow through the arteries, is called atherosclerosis.
Clogged arteries do not occur overnight. The blockage develops over time. Diet and lifestyle choices play a key role in the development of this condition.
The good news is that eating healthy can help prevent clogged arteries and related health issues.
Here are the top 10 foods that you should eat daily for clean arteries.
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 contains powerful antioxidants that can help keep your arteries clean and healthy.
The antioxidants also play a key role in improving the health of the delicate endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease.
A 2004 study published in Circulation Journal found that green tea intake was associated with a lower incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in the study population in Japan. Therefore, the more green tea that patients consume, the less likely they are to have CAD.
Another study published in Current Medicinal Chemistry in 2008 reports that catechins found in green tea are important for normal vascular function and may help prevent and treat vascular diseases.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery reports that abdominal aortic aneurysm – a condition in which the main artery becomes overstretched and bloated – developed less frequently in rats that received oral administration of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a major component of green tea polyphenols, for several weeks.
Drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea each day is all that you need to reduce arterial blockage.
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.
This popular vegetable is highly beneficial for your heart.
Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, which protects the arteries from becoming inflamed and damaged.
This green vegetable is also rich in vitamin K, which helps keep calcium from damaging the arteries. Also, the fiber in broccoli can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
A 2009 study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology reports that daily intake of at least 1 cup of broccoli can prevent clogging of arteries.
The study says that sulforaphane-rich broccoli helps the body use a specific protein to prevent plaque formation in the arteries. The compound sulforaphane aids in restoring the cells’ ability to protect against becoming inflamed.
Another study published in 2011 in the EPMA Journal suggests that regular consumption of brassica vegetables like broccoli may provide a preventive dietary approach to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Eat 2 to 3 servings of broccoli each week. A serving is ½ cup of raw broccoli.
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.