Heart disease is among one of the most deadly killers in the world, killing on average 2,200 thousand Americans a day.
These numbers are extremely devastating, and one of the key risks for developing heart disease is clogged arteries.
Clogging of the arteries doesn’t happen overnight, and can be caused by diet, genetics and lifestyle choices.
However, there are foods that can help unclog your arteries of plaque buildup:
These 10 foods can help unclog your arteries and protect your heart!
Onions are part of the Allium genus and linked to a number of health benefits. Research has shown that a diet rich in these popular veggies may protect the arteries.
A 15-year study that followed 1,226 women ages 70 and older found that a higher intake of Allium vegetables like onions was associated with a lower risk of death related to disease caused by atherosclerosis.
Onions contain sulfur compounds that scientists think may help prevent blood vessel inflammation, inhibit the clumping together of platelets in the blood, and increase the availability of nitric oxide.
All of these effects may help protect against atherosclerosis and improve artery health.
- Green Tea
Green tea contains high levels of catechins, which hinder the absorption of cholesterol during digestion.
Drinking a cup or two each day can help to improve your blood-lipid levels and reduce arterial blockage.
Green tea also gives your metabolism a natural boost, which can aid in weight loss and support cardiovascular health.
- Flax seeds
Flax seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrition.
They are high in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium and magnesium. In addition to being highly nutritious, flax seeds may help prevent atherosclerosis.
One study found that rabbits that ate flax seed after a high cholesterol diet experienced a 40% reduction in plaque formation compared with animals that did not eat flax seeds.
Flax seeds contain secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), an anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering lignan compound whose properties counter atherosclerosis.
Whether you love the stuff or hate it, broccoli is rich in Vitamin K, which helps to keep calcium from damaging the arteries.
It’s also full of fiber, which can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Fish is loaded with essential nutrients, including omega-3 fats. Eating omega-3-rich fish may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Studies show that omega-3s help reduce the expression of cellular adhesion molecules, which are proteins that allow cells to stick to one another and their surroundings.
Your body releases cellular adhesion molecules in response to inflammation, and they’re a driving force behind clogged arteries.
What’s more, fish intake has been associated with a reduced risk of atherosclerosis.
A study in 961 people compared participants who ate less than one serving of fish per week with those who ate two or more servings of fish per week.
The study found that 13.3% of people who ate less fish had atherosclerosis in their carotid arteries, which deliver blood to the brain, compared with just 6.6% of those in the fish-eating group.
Spices, including ginger, pepper, chili, and cinnamon may help protect against clogged arteries.
These and other spices have anti-inflammatory properties and may help scavenge free radicals, improve blood lipid levels, and reduce the clumping together of platelets in the blood.
You can increase your spice consumption easily by adding these versatile flavorings to oatmeal, soups, stews, and just about any other dish you can think of.
Beets are a rich source of nitrates, which your body converts to nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that plays many essential roles in your body.
Inflammation in the blood vessels leads to decreased nitric oxide production.
Eating foods like beets that are rich in dietary nitrates may help improve blood vessel function and decrease inflammation, which may help prevent atherosclerosis.
Research has also found an association between dietary nitrate intake and a reduced risk of atherosclerosis-related death.
- Olive oil
The Mediterranean diet is rich in high fiber vegetables, beans, and olive oil. It has long been associated with improved heart health.
Olive oil may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
A 4-month study in 82 people with early atherosclerosis found that daily intake of 1 ounce (30 mL) of olive oil significantly improved participants’ blood vessel function and reduced inflammatory markers.
A 2018 review also concluded that olive oil consumption is associated with reduced atherosclerosis-related inflammatory markers and a decreased risk of heart disease and complications.
Scientists attribute olive oil’s ability to increase heart and blood vessel health to its high content of polyphenol compounds.
Keep in mind that less refined extra virgin olive oil has significantly greater amounts of polyphenols than more refined olive oils.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are delicious and provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including flavonoids.
Citrus flavonoids can decrease inflammation and help prevent free radicals in the body from oxidizing LDL (bad) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL is associated with atherosclerosis development and progression.
This may be why citrus consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke — two conditions linked to atherosclerosis.
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.