Arteries are the plumbing system of our body – they carry blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to every cell. Just like the house with bust plumbing is doomed, so too is the body if we let the arteries get clogged and hardened. Food high in saturated fats, processed sugars and chemicals, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise, will reduce the arteries’ circumference, as gunk gets deposited on the walls. This condition is known as arteriosclerosis,
and it’s a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Just as you can make your arteries deteriorate by what you eat, you can also keep them healthy by choosing the right food. Here is a list of foods that will help to prevent clogged arteries:
1. Kiwi and cantalupe: Antioxidant-rich fruits that lower the LDL cholesterol (dubbed ‘bad cholesterol’) in the blood, and reduce plaque stuck to arterial walls. Eat one kiwi a day, or a cup of cantaloupe.
2. Oily fish: Salmon, tuna and herring all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are a source of good fats and prevent the clogging plaque from forming. Make sure you get sustainably caught fish, and avoid buying farmed salmon, as its meat usually contains toxic chemicals and has less omega-3.
3. Berries and red grapes: Grapes contain flavonoids, which stop the bad cholesterol from oxidizing. Strawberries, cherries, cranberries and other berries contain powerful antioxidants and are packed with vitamins. Buy them organic to avoid the pesticide overload.
4. Garlic: Reduces blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. For medicinal effect, eat one to two minced raw garlic cloves. If you use supplements, look for the amount of allicin which is the garlic’s active ingredient.
5. Apples and grapefruits: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. The pectin (soluble fiber) in these fruits, lowers the bad cholesterol, while the minerals potassium and magnesium help to control blood pressure.
6. Spinach: Rich in vitamins A and C, which help to prevent the clogging plaque from developing. Popeye’s favorite food also contains lots of potassium and folic acid, thus lowering blood pressure.
7. Olive oil: A source of omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil is one of the good oils. Use cold-pressed organic oil and apply moderation in the amounts you eat, as fat is still fat.
8. Tomatoes: Antioxidant-rich food that prevents the oxidization of LDL cholesterol. If you consume them regularly, you can cut your risk of arteriosclerosis by half.
9. Green tea: Flavonoids in green tea are powerful antioxidants. A good quality green tea will also prevent the formation of blood clots and help maintain healthy linings of the arteries. Drink a cup a day.
10. Pomegranate: Another great antioxidant-rich fruit. Pomegranate prevents the hardening of the arteries and can even reverse this disease.
You have the power in your hands to choose to eat healthy foods to maintain your body health, especially when it comes to your heart health. You can maintain your arteries clean with the above foods that are simple and easy to find.