Arteries are essential in circulating oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. However, due to unhealthy lifestyle choices and diets high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and inflammation, arteries can become clogged, leading to cardiovascular diseases.
While medication and surgical procedures can be effective in treating clogged arteries, certain foods can also play a role in preventing and reversing arterial blockages naturally.
In this article, we have listed ten foods that can help prevent clogged arteries.
How Arteries Can Become Clogged
Arteries can become clogged through a process known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty deposits, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and other substances build up on the inner lining of the arteries. This buildup is called plaque.
The process of plaque formation typically starts with damage or injury to the inner lining of the artery. Several factors can contribute to this damage, including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and inflammation.
When the inner lining of the artery is damaged, it provides an opportunity for plaque to form. Cholesterol and other fatty substances circulating in the blood may accumulate at the injury site. Over time, the plaque grows and hardens, narrowing the artery and reducing blood flow.
As the plaque builds up, it may become unstable and develop a fibrous cap. If the fibrous cap ruptures, it can trigger the formation of a blood clot. The blood clot can further block the artery, completely cutting off blood flow to the affected organ or tissue. This can lead to severe health conditions such as heart attack or stroke, depending on the location of the blocked artery.
Factors that increase the risk of developing clogged arteries include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, a family history of heart disease, and aging.
Top 13 Foods That Unclog Arteries Naturally
Here are ten natural foods that can help unclog arteries and promote heart health.
Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, which can help lower LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating avocado regularly can also help improve blood flow and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.
They also contain potassium, which aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
2. Leafy greens
Green vegetables like spinach, kale, and Swisschard are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help lower blood pressure and reduce arterial inflammation. These greens contain nitrates that help relax blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of artery blockages.
Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels, which can help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
They are also low in calories and fiber, making them an ideal snack for maintaining good heart health.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a major contributor to artery blockages. Eating tomatoes regularly can also help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and promote overall heart health.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, making them excellent heart-healthy snacks. Studies have shown that eating nuts regularly can help lower LDL cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and improve overall heart health.
6. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and decrease triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in the blood that can contribute to clogged arteries.
Garlic has been known to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and prevent blood clot formation. Its active compound, allicin, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that benefit arterial health. Eating garlic regularly can also help improve cholesterol levels and overall heart health.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins that can help reduce inflammation and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Drinking green tea regularly can also help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart disease.
9. Whole grains
Consuming whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice can improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, and preventing the formation of blood clots. These grains contain fiber and essential nutrients, making them an important part of a heart-healthy diet.
10. Olive oil
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. This helps reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, and protect the arteries from damage.
Pomegranate contains powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols and anthocyanins, which can help prevent oxidative stress and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Drinking pomegranate juice regularly can also help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, making it an excellent choice for maintaining good heart health.
Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin helps reduce inflammation in the arteries and prevents the buildup of plaque, promoting overall heart health.
Apples are a great fruit to include in your diet for many reasons, including their ability to help lower cholesterol levels. This is due to two main components of apples: soluble fiber and polyphenols.
Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract and helps to remove it from the body. One medium-sized apple contains about 4.4 grams of soluble fiber, which is about 11% of the recommended daily intake for women and 15% of the recommended daily intake for men.
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that can help to protect LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is a key step in the development of atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. Apples are a good source of polyphenols, with one medium-sized apple containing about 195 milligrams.
In addition to soluble fiber and polyphenols, apples also contain other nutrients that may help to lower cholesterol levels, such as vitamin C and potassium.
A study found that people who ate two apples per day for six weeks had a 5% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels. Another study found that people who ate three apples per day for six weeks had an 8% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels.
Incorporating these ten foods into your diet can help unclog arteries naturally and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, avoiding smoking, and managing stress levels to ensure optimal cardiovascular health. Consult with a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.
is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Dhaka University and has worked with various clients to help them achieve their health goals through personalized diet plans. Mounota is passionate about educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle and has written extensively on the subject for various publications.