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17 Common Foods That Help Unclog Your Arteries and Prevent Heart Attacks
Although no one likes to think about it, heart disease is the number one killer in America. It’s called the silent killer because most people have no idea that they have heart disease until it’s too late. Heart disease occurs because of a buildup of plaque in the arteries that lead to your heart. When this occurs it’s called atherosclerosis. When we are born, our arteries are smooth and flexible. As we age, they can become more narrow and hard. This means that the heart does not get the blood flow that it needs. It becomes damaged due to a lack of nutrients and oxygen.
How do our arteries become blocked? Through the increasing deposits of cholesterol-laden plaque. As the plaque builds up over the years, it inflames the blood vessels.
Although many people have no idea they have a problem until they have a heart attack, there are some warning signs you should pay attention to, including:
- Shortness of breath, especially when doing something simple, such as walking
- An increased heartrate
- Irregular heartbeats, or a flip flop feeling in the chest
- Dizziness, weakness
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away to rule out heart disease.
There are ways to help avoid this problem, however. Getting older does not mean you are forced to accept heart disease, blood clots, or a heart attack.
The foods on the following list contain plenty of the antioxidants, soluble fiber, and healthy fats that are good for your heart, as well as promoting other heathy functions in the body including proper hormone production, nutrient absorption, and an improved immune system function.
Keep reading for 17 of the best foods that can help your heart as well as unclog your arteries.
1. Chia Seeds
These very tiny seeds contain important fiber and alpha linolenic acid that can keep the arteries clear by reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, regulating blood pressure, and increasing good (HDL) cholesterol in the bloodstream. This tiny yet powerful superfood can help improve heart health and keep the arteries clear of heart clogging plaque.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has gotten a lot of bad rap in the past, with many claiming that its fat causes cardiovascular disease, but these old fashioned myths are changing. In fact, regular consumption of about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil each day can actually reduce the level of plaque in the arteries by converting the cholesterol into a type of compound that the body can actually use. Also, the lauric acid and high concentration of medium chain triglycerides improves the coagulation of blood and increases the antioxidant function, which all leads to a lower risk of developing heart disease.
Raw, unsalted nuts are one of the best snack alternatives to processed foods such as potato chips or French fries. Raw nuts not only clear the arteries with their high levels of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, they also offer the body numerous other health options. Almonds are the best of the bunch, since they are the lowest in calories, with walnuts placing a close second. Nuts are a great source of alpha linolenic acid, the same thing that gives flaxseed their reputation. Eating one to one and a half ounces of walnuts or almonds each day can lower inflammation, reduce blood pressure levels, and keep your arteries clear of plaque.
This fruit is high in antioxidant phytochemicals that protect the circulatory system from the oxidation that damage the arteries and causes plaque build- up. Pomegranates stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which will regulate blood pressure by opening the arteries. Eat some fresh pomegranates or enjoy fresh organic juice a few times week to help remove plaque and keep the blood going to your heart!
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This super delicious summer fruit is more than just a 4th of July favorite, it’s terrific for your heart! Watermelon contains an important amino acid, L-citrulline, which decreases inflammation and lowers blood pressure. In much the same way as pomegranates work, watermelon also stimulates the production of nitric oxide. Don’t wait for the summer months to eat this super heart healthy fruit.
It’s the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, which works the magic here. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Inflammation can cause damage to the walls of your arteries, which can lead to blood clots and plaque build- up. Studies have shown that turmeric can reduce the build-up of fatty deposits by as much as 26 percent.
One of the best veggies ever for clearing out your arteries! Asparagus might make your pee smell funny, but its long list of vitamins, including K, E, C, B1 and B2 can help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots.
It just takes a little bit of this popular spice to really lower your risk of heart disease. Studies show that one tablespoon of cinnamon each day clears out plaque and prevents it from forming. It also reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. Cinnamon is loaded with those important antioxidants which prevent the oxidation in your blood. Try adding some cinnamon to your morning coffee or in a cup of tea, on top of your oatmeal or in a smoothie. No matter how you consume it, you can’t go wrong with adding cinnamon to your diet.
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Tart but tasty, cranberries are a super-rich antioxidant fruit which reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood. Cranberry juice has more antioxidant power than any other fruit (except for red or black grape juice). Just 2 8 ounce servings of pure, organic juice each day will keep your arteries clear and can offer your heart real protection.
10. Green Tea
Green tea has been shown in numerous studies to contain some of the most powerful antioxidants on earth. Green tea, especially Matcha green tea, contains an antioxidant called catechins, a plant phenol which helps to stop the body from absorbing cholesterol during the digestion of food. Try drinking two or more cups of green tea each day to improve your blood cholesterol levels and reduce possible arterial blockage. An added plus is that green tea gives your metabolism a boost, which might help you lose a few pounds, which also in turn will improve heart health. Read also about green tea effect on cancer.
11. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the best oils you can use for cooking beside coconut oil. Olive oil is rich in an essential fatty acid, oleic acid, which is known for its positive effects on reducing oxidative stress and cholesterol levels. Using olive oil in cooking and salad dressings can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular issues by as much as 41 percent! Always look for certified 100 percent organic virgin olive oil as cheaper oils have been cut with less healthy oils.
Flaxseed can reduce overall blood pressure levels and inflammation in the body because of their high levels of alpha-linolenic acid. ALA will help to keep your arteries clear and improve overall heart health. Add some 100 percent organic flaxseeds in your morning smoothies for your heart’s sake!
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13. Cold Water Fish
Cold water fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon can reduce inflammation and plaque build-up, both of which can lead to heart disease. Eating these cold water fish twice per week can help lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Although drinking cup after cup of coffee all day, every day, is not good for your health, drinking between 8 and 16 ounces of coffee each day can lower your risk of heart disease by about 20 percent! So enjoy a cup or two of coffee, but after that, try some green tea and get all the heart healthy benefits possible just by drinking!
The vitamin K in broccoli is super important for a healthy heart as it helps prevent the calcification of the arteries. Broccoli is also packed with healthy antioxidants, which prevents the oxidation of that bad (LDL) cholesterol, which can lead to serious heart problems. Think of broccoli as a miniature green broom for your arteries, sweeping away the cholesterol with its fiber.
The next time you make a salad or a sandwich, try using some avocado instead of mayonnaise or salad dressing. Eating half an avocado each day will lower blood cholesterol levels by as much as 22 percent and increase the HDL levels by about 11 percent, according to studies. Avocados also contain an impressive list of vitamins and antioxidants. Read more about avocado benefits for our health and why it is the healthiest food ever.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae which contains all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. Spirulina is over-flowing with alpha linolenic acid, the same omega-3 fatty acid that is found in flaxseeds and chia seeds. Spirulina has been researched extensively for its ability to reduce inflammation in the arteries and improve cardiovascular health. You can take spirulina in either a powder form, or in a supplement.