12 Foods that Clean Arteries and Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Your arteries are a network of blood vessels that connect the heart to the rest of the body’s tissues. When your arteries get obstructed, it can result in various heart diseases and stroke. Therefore, it is critical to ensure you live a healthy lifestyle through exercise, sleep and a diet with foods that clean arteries preventing the risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, and heart disease.

What Causes Arterial Plaque?

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Arterial plaque builds up in your arteries due to cholesterol, fat, and other inflammatory substances causing atherosclerosis. To counter this, your body activates white blood cells to trap and turn the cholesterol into foamy cells. This turns them into more fat causing inflammation. As a result, your arterial muscles multiply capping the fat although the soft plaque is still dangerous. If you develop high blood pressure, this soft plaque wall could burst and form a clot leading to stroke and a possible heart attack. In fact, most heart attacks occur when plaque deposits rupture in arterial walls.

Some types of plaque are covered by fibrous caps that do not rupture, instead they remain in the arteries obstructing blood flow. This can cause angina or chest pain which increases with emotional stress. These plaque blockages can also cause various types of heart attacks.

Can You Unclog Your Arteries?

Once plaque forms in your arteries, it cannot be removed, in fact no magical potion herbal or chemical exists that can remove plaque once it is already there. What you can do however, is adopt healthy eating habits and a lifestyle with medication where necessary that shrinks plaque and stabilizes it. Moreover, a diet of foods that clean arteries, which provide a rich source of HDL, or good cholesterol prevents further plaque build up and helps move bad cholesterol out of your arteries.

When it comes to dealing with plaque, a doctor will always try to figure out how to target the soft plaque before it ruptures. Usually, they will suggest procedures or medication that will suck out the cholesterol from the inside to shrink the plaque to at least 15% so that nothing much is inside. Moreover, reducing bad cholesterol or LDL in the blood can also prevent plaque build up in arteries. Mediterranean style diets and foods that unclog arteries do exist to prevent cholesterol build up and prevent further risk of atherosclerosis. Here are 12 foods that clean your arteries.

1. Omega-3 fatty acids

The NO 1 ingredient that your heart needs to stay healthy. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in several types of fatty fish like Indian mackerel, hilsa, salmon and sardines. For vegetarians, you can get abundant omega 3 from nuts and seeds, fruits like avocado and olive oil. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for cognitive function, increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein), fighting inflammation and preventing blood clotting as well as contributing to cleaning clogged arteries. Omega 3’s also stabilizes blood pressure preventing arrhythmias, reduce triglycerides, another type of fat and excess calcium which also hardens and thickens joints and arteries.

2. Asparagus

The natural artery-clearing properties of asparagus make it a heart-healthy choice among the foods that clean arteries. Asparagus is abundant in vitamins B1, B2, C, E, K, fibre, and minerals which gives it anti-inflammatory properties, including the ability to remove clots already present in the arteries. Asparagus boosts glutathione synthesis, which prevents toxins from oxidizing in the arteries. The alpha-linolenic acid and folic acid in asparagus help to keep blood vessels flexible. Asparagus has also been found to reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow and prevent cardiovascular risks.

3. Garlic

Although consuming garlic may not be ideal before a date due to its effect on breath, it contains allicin, a compound that, when crushed and ingested, can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Allicin works by disrupting cholesterol production and slowing down the oxidation of LDL, contributing to healthier arteries.

4. Pomegranate

Pomegranate, despite its reputation for being somewhat challenging to eat due to its seeds, is packed with antioxidants known as phytochemicals. These antioxidants play a crucial role in shielding arterial walls from harm. Additionally, pomegranate boosts nitric oxide production, which aids in vessel dilation and enhances blood flow, thus decreasing the likelihood of clot formation, plaque, and fatty buildup.

5. Niacin

Niacin, also referred to as vitamin B3, is abundant in foods such as chicken, organ meats, and leafy greens, and plays a vital role in maintaining cardiovascular health. It boosts HDL cholesterol levels while eliminating harmful LDL cholesterol by transporting it to the liver for elimination.

6. Citrus fruits 

Pectin, which is found in citrus fruits like oranges, apples, and tangerines, helps clear the arteries. According to Harvard Medical School, pectin is a form of fiber that lowers harmful cholesterol in the body. Citrus fruits and many vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C, which are necessary for healthy connective tissues. Besides keeping your arteries maintained, vitamin C boosts your immunity, reducing inflammation and the risk of plaque. In fact, eating just one orange daily can reduce blood pressure significantly.

7. Apples

One of the best foods that clean arteries is apples. Apples can help prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. According to one study on middle aged adults, an apple a day for four weeks reduced the levels of a chemical linked to hardening of arteries by 40%. Moreover, Polyphenols, or antioxidants, present in this fruit, may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation. Apples should be eaten unpeeled for maximum heart benefits.

8. Turmeric

Turmeric, an exotic spice that can elevate the flavor of your dishes, offers more than just taste enhancement. It contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound that not only reduces arterial inflammation but also diminishes fatty deposits, known as plaque, by up to 26%. This makes turmeric a remarkable addition to your culinary arsenal for promoting heart health.

9. Watermelon

Watermelon is yet another fruit among foods that clean arteries. Watermelon contains L citrulline, an amino acid that is converted to L-arginine which contributes to nitric oxide synthesis. This helps to decrease blood pressure and prevent thickening of arteries. Watermelon is also good for blood circulation and prevents the risk of heart attacks. You can eat watermelons as dessert, extract its juice to make a refreshing drink, or even use them as the basis of an entire meal. Either way, it’s both nutritious and flavourful.

10. Broccoli 

Research at the New British Heart Foundation (BHF) in Imperial College London found how a chemical in vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, can boost a natural defence mechanism to protect arteries from disease. The research found how a chemical called sulforaphane (called brassicas by gardeners) in broccoli activated a dormant protective protein called Nrf2 in areas where arteries were susceptible to disease. Moreover, broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which prevents blood clotting. As an added benefit, broccolis have a high fibre content which helps to keep blood pressure in check. Broccoli also lessens the tension on the arterial wall that plaque build-up and LDL can create. Thus, this vegetable aids in keeping your heart and arteries healthy.

11. Red Grapes

According to an article in UCLA health, grapes contain several phytonutrients such as catechins, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, leucoanthocyanidin, quercetin, kaempferol, stilbenes, ellagic acid and hydroxycinnamates. These give grapes their color and cholesterol lowering properties. Other research has found how grapes protects blood vessels from fat damage even when people ate a 900-calorie meal pumped up with 49 grams of fat. Among the most studied ingredient in grapes is resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes and certain berries known for its anti-inflammatory properties against certain diseases like arthritis and digestive tract infections. Grape extract has also been found to decrease oxidation of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) thus preventing the risk of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

12. Oats

Studies have found how oats contain antioxidants called aventhramides that can inhibit inflammatory proteins called cytokines and adhesion molecules to prevent atherosclerosis. Oats is packed with healthy fiber and has been found to reduce LDL cholesterol which promoted heart health. Eating oats promotes a reduced risk of needing revascularization — a procedure to increase oxygen delivery to the heart and other parts of the body. This process usually becomes necessary when atherosclerosis obstructs blood flow.

Keep in mind, there is no easy way to remove plaque although eating these foods that clean arteries will do much to either shrink it or improve arterial health. Moreover, such foods have a range of health benefits that contribute to heart health. In addition to these heart-healthy foods, Avoid sugar, and saturated fats intake in your daily diet. These are only a few of the most common components that have been linked to an increase in bad cholesterol, which is responsible for clogging arteries. Consistency, commitment, and discipline in your eating habits go hand in hand with positive thinking. Living and eating healthy can be the best thing you do for your body and health.