- Nutritional Advice & Tips
Foods That Unclog Clogged Arteries
Atherosclerosis is the medical term used to describe the condition in which your arteries become clogged and hardened. It is a progressive disease that develops over time, often without any warning signs. In that sense, it is a silent disease and hence more dangerous, especially because it can cause you to have a fatal heart attack. There may be warning signs alerting you that all is not well, but when you do have those warnings, it is important to recognize them. Atherosclerosis, in fact, has been recognized as being the cause of 75% of all cardiovascular-related deaths in America with an estimated 80-90% of Americans having varying degrees of atherosclerosis over the age of 30. Arteries aren't naturally hard or inflexible, but accumulation of plaque (fatty deposits) results in the arteries becoming clogged and hardened. This occurs gradually over time and the progression depends on your dietary intake among other lifestyle factors. Some plaques can break off the artery wall, travel and get lodged blocking off blood supply to vital organs such as the brain or heart, resulting in strokes or heart attacks.
To reduce your risk or prevent atherosclerosis progression, doctors would advise you among other things to eat healthy. There are certain foods that have been widely recognized by the medical fraternity by research to have cardioprotective properties. While research is an ongoing process and throws up different results every now and then, these foods are more or less widely believed to offer heart-healthy and other medical benefits. Incidentally, some of them have been used by cultures around the world in traditional medicine for these very reasons. What follows is a list of foods that can help keep your arteries unclogged and protect you from potentially deadly strokes or heart attacks.
This fruit, that according to legend grew in the garden of Eden, contains powerful antioxidants that, according to some researchers, are more potent than comparative foods and food products such as green tea or wine. Antioxidants helps lower inflammation and protects the cells of the body from damage. Clinical research indicates that drinking pomegranate juice results in improved blood flow and slows the progression of atherosclerosis (fat deposition in the inner walls of arteries). It has also been shown to help lower hypertension.
Eating fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids slows down and in fact can also slightly reverse clogging up of arteries. Fish oil lowers high triglyceride levels (a type of fat found in your blood). High triglyceride levels are a risk factor for heart disease and fish oils have been found to reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 20-50%. Examples of high omega-3 fatty acid-containing fish include Mackerel, Salmon, Mullet, Sturgeon, Tuna, Sardines, Trout and Herring. Fish oil can also be obtained by taking fish oil supplements, which are sourced from the types of fish mentioned above.
The antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries by fatty material). A study done by the University of North Carolina found that individuals with high blood-lycopene levels were less likely to have heart attacks. Lycopene has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and lower LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels. While lycopene can also been taking as a supplement, it is best taken in naturally as it offers additional vitamins such as vitamins A, C and E.
While garlic may not win the popularity contests with most people owing to its well-known malodorous capabilities, it is well recognized as a wonder food. Garlic has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties by many cultures around the world. Garlic is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to slow down atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries or fatty deposition within the walls of arteries). Garlic has also been associated with lowering of blood pressure by as much as 8% Apart from having heart-healthy benefits such as its artery-unclogging abilities, garlic has also been shown to have anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) properties. Shunning garlic for fear of bad breath would therefore be foolish. Incidentally, the most commonly known benefit of garlic is in combating colds.
Like garlic, turmeric has also been used for centuries around the world to treat many medical conditions. Turmeric has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine extensively through centuries to treat wounds, skin disease and digestive among other health problems. Clinical studies indicate that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and that it can be beneficial in fighting infections, cancers and digestive problems. More importantly, research indicates that turmeric can help prevent clogging of arteries and has also been shown to prevent blood clots from forming along walls of arteries due to its ability to stop platelets (a component of blood) from clumping together.
Tea is perhaps the most consumed beverage around the world, but green tea in particular has been shown to have artery unclogging properties among other health benefits. It has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for its many reported medicinal properties. Clinical research in fact shows that green tea has one of the highest concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols. Specifically as regards unclogging arteries, green tea helps by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels with some research showing that drinking about 3 cups of tea per day can have significant benefit in reducing the risk of suffering a heart attack.
Cranberries contain powerful phytochemicals and have been shown by research to contain the highest antioxidant activity among fruits. Cranberries have been shown to slow the progression of clogging of arteries. The neutralizing action of antioxidants contained in cranberries counteracts free radical generation, which damages cells and accumulates with age. Cranberries therefore ensure that your vascular function is preserved, thereby helping you avoid clogging up of arteries.
Not all fats are bad. Fats such as unsaturated (good) fats found in olive oil are good for you. A study published in the June 2011 issue of the journal Neurology pointed out the benefits of olive oil in reducing the risk of stroke, which can be caused by atherosclerosis or clogging of arteries. In this study, more than 7000 people aged 65 or older were tracked. This study found that individuals from this group who incorporated or had more olive oil in their diet compared to others had a whopping 41% reduction in their likelihood of suffering a stroke compared to the others. The well-known Mediterranean Diet, which is widely recognized by doctors as a heart-healthy diet, incorporates olive oil as well, so olive oil is good for your arteries.
These are some simple foods/ingredients that you can incorporate into your diet to help keep your arteries unclogged and functioning as they should be. Fast food tastes great but does your arteries no good. Eating healthy is a choice and it is never too late to make that choice. The sooner you switch, the more time you buy for yourself and your loved ones.
So, what are you waiting for? Switch to natural healthy, good-for-your-heart foods. You may not see the benefits visually of how it benefits your arteries, but you would most definitely live long enough and healthy enough to experience the silent benefits that these natural and easy foods/ingredients provide you.
Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before taking some of the above ingredients in supplement form, especially when you are taking medications, as some of them can interact with medications. Consult your medical practitioner in regards to dosages you should take, when taken in supplement form. This information is intended as an educational resource only and not intended to replace professional medical advice from your physician.
© 2013 Shil1978