The Standard American Diet does a lot of harm to the human body. All of the meats, processed foods, greasy fast foods, refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, and GMOs have contributed to the increased percentage of people with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Even though there are foods that can clog arteries, there are also foods that can help clean them out.
An artery is muscular-walled tube, belonging to the circulatory system, which carries oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body. However, plaque can build up inside the arterial walls, which can cause inhibited blood flow. Plaque is comprised of things like fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrin, and cellular waste, all of which circulate in the blood. When arteries get clogged or blocked, people can develop coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, or carotid artery disease.
To help keep your arteries clean, you may benefit from eating the foods in the list below.
This exotic fruit also helps cleanse your arteries. According to a 2005 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists believe that the high antioxidants (particularly vitamin C and polyphenols) in pomegranate stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which in turn helps keep blood flowing and arteries open. This fruit can even reduce existing plaque formations in the arteries.
You can drink freshly extracted pomegranate juice, or make fruit salads and smoothies to include pomegranates in your diet.
Note: As pomegranate juice may not be suitable when taken with certain medications, it is best to consult your doctor about drinking this juice to clean your arteries.
Studies show that avocados can help reduce LDL cholesterol. A high LDL cholesterol level leads to plaque buildup along the artery walls. Moreover, avocados can increase the HDL level in the body.
In addition, avocados have vitamin E that prevents cholesterol oxidization along with potassium that helps lower blood pressure.
You can eat 1 avocado daily. You can also use it as a healthy substitute for butter or cream on bread and toast. Avocados also go well in soups, sandwiches, salads and as a side dish.
Asparagus is one of the best foods to cleanse your arteries. Full of fiber and minerals, it helps lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots that can lead to serious cardiovascular illness. It works within the veins and arteries to alleviate inflammation that may have accumulated over time. It boosts the body’s production of glutathione, an antioxidant that fights inflammation and prevents damaging oxidation that causes clogged or blocked arteries. It also contains alpha-linoleic acid and folic acid, which prevent hardening of the arteries.
There are many great recipes for asparagus. Steam it, roast it, grill it and even eat it raw in salads.
Broccoli can prevent artery clogging because it is loaded with vitamin K, which prevents calcium from damaging the arteries. Broccoli also prevents cholesterol oxidation and is full of fiber, which lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Stress can lead to tearing and plaque build-up of arterial walls. These little trees also contain sulforaphane, which helps the body use protein to prevent plaque build-up in the arteries.
It is recommended to have two to three servings of broccoli per week for the maximum benefits. Broccoli is another versatile vegetable—it tastes great grilled, roasted or steamed and is a great side dish.
5. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish—mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring and tuna—are rich in healthy fats, which can help to clear the arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids help to increase the “good” cholesterol while reducing triglyceride levels, decreasing blood vessel inflammation and the formation of blood clots in the arteries, and can even lower blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends people eat fish at least twice per week to reduce plaque build-up. Baked and grilled fish are the most optimal for heart health.
Instead of reaching for the cookie jar, try a healthier alternative—nuts. Almonds are the best choice because they are high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber and protein. The magnesium in almonds also prevents plaque formation and lowers blood pressure. Walnuts are another good source of omega-3 fatty acid, which will reduce “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol levels, which in turn lowers the risk of plaque build-up in the arteries.
The AHA recommends three to five servings per week (one serving is equivalent to a handful). Nuts also make a great salad topper.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid, an essential fatty acid that lowers “bad” cholesterol and raises “good” cholesterol. Rich in antioxidants, it is one of the healthiest oils to use in cooking or for dressings.
Use olive oil instead of butter and drizzle over salad or pasta. It is recommended to choose 100 percent organic virgin olive oil for maximum health benefits.
This summertime favorite is a great natural source of the amino acid L-citrulline, which boosts nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide causes the arteries to relax, decreases inflammation and can help lower blood pressure. Watermelon also helps to modify blood lipids and lowers belly fat accumulation. Less fat in the abdominal area lowers the risk of heart disease.
The main component of this spice is curcumin, which is a power anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a major cause of arteriosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. Turmeric also reduces the damage to arterial walls, which can cause blood clots and plaque build up. Turmeric also contains vitamin B6, which helps to maintain healthy levels of homocysteine, which can cause plaque buildup and blood vessel damage in excess amounts.
Turmeric can be an ingredient in many dishes, both sweet and savory. One way to get your daily dose is by drinking a glass of warm turmeric milk daily. If you’ve never cooked with it before, now’s the time to get creative for your health!
10. Whole Grains
Whole grains contain soluble fiber, which binds to the excess LDL cholesterol in your digestive tract and removes it from your body. Whole grains also contain magnesium, which dilates blood vessels and keeps your blood pressure at regular levels.
The AHA recommends at least six daily servings of whole grains, so trade your carbs for whole-grain alternatives like whole-grain breads, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, quinoa, barley and oatmeal to improve cholesterol levels and keep your arteries clear.