Health

30 Best Foods to Help Unclog Arteries (and What to Avoid)

4. Avocados The recent rise in the popularity of Avocados has as much to do with their flavor and utility as with their health benefits.  Strangely… Rina - October 11, 2020
30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Avocados help the heart by reducing the “bad” cholesterol fats in the blood. Shutterstock.

4. Avocados

The recent rise in the popularity of Avocados has as much to do with their flavor and utility as with their health benefits.  Strangely enough, the avocado tree should have died out in its South American home centuries ago, along with the giant ground sloth, which was the only dispersal agent left for its giant seed, but which became extinct 13,000 years ago. It is thanks to humans’ enjoyment of this fruit that we still have avos today. Containing 20 different nutrients, the fruit, sometimes called the alligator fruit, packs 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats.

Most of the carbohydrates are healthy fiber.  It has many anti-oxidant nutrients and is especially high in potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure.  Although bananas are well known for their high potassium content, Avocados have twice the amount, so are even better. Avocados help the heart by reducing the “bad” cholesterol fats in the blood and increasing the “good” cholesterol, which helps clear arteries of blockages.  Their ability to be used as tasty substitutes for many unhealthy foods makes them especially attractive as healthy foods. 

The healthy oils in Avocados will also help you better absorb nutrients in vegetables such as vitamins A, D, E and K which need to be combined with fats to be absorbed by the body. For a health food, Avocados are surprisingly tasty and can be included in your diet in so many ways.  While their softness makes them a favorite baby food, they can be crushed on toast for a healthy snack or used in salads either in slices or softened as a dressing to replace high-fat mayonnaise or other unhealthy salad dressings – guacamole has Avocados as their main ingredient after all.  You can find a use for Avocados at every meal of the day!

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Broccoli can prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems. Shutterstock.

5. Broccoli

While every child learns the nutritious benefits of green, leafy vegetables, they are rarely the most enjoyable item at the dinner table.  While other vegetables, such as spinach, are known for their health benefits, broccoli has the advantage in terms of taste and popularity. Fat-free and high in fiber, broccoli boasts a wide array of nutrients. it is high in fiber, very high in vitamin C and has potassium, B6, and vitamin A, as well as a large amount of protein for a vegetable. These nutrients are all anti-oxidants which remove unstable molecules from the body before they damage cells, and thus combat cancer and clogged arteries. Broccoli also enjoys high levels of phytochemicals which give plants their color, smell, and flavor, but which also benefit the immune system. The fiber can combine with bad cholesterol and remove it from the body, thus reducing harmful cholesterol levels in the blood.

In addition to reducing cholesterol, the sulforaphane in broccoli is an anti-inflammatory which can prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems. And the vegetable’s B-complex vitamins can help regulate or reduce excessive homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease by converting it to a less harmful molecule. Usually sautéed or steamed, I recommend you try a whole head of broccoli roasted in the oven with olive oil.  Boiled, (which often means over-boiled) broccoli is the least healthy way of preparing it because of most of the nutrients leach out into the water. It can be eaten raw, although it is often combined with a crudité dip which undoes all the health benefits of the vegetable itself. The young vegetables make an interesting addition to a salad.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Start your day off right with one healthy plant-based breakfast of oatmeal, bananas, and favorite berries. You can also add a glass of orange juice for additional vitamin C. Shutterstock.

6. Oatmeal

While it has been known for many years that oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol, which can clog up arteries, new research has discovered additional benefits:  Some fiber in oats is called beta-glucan which reduces LDL cholesterol, non-HDC cholesterol, and apoB which carries cholesterol through the blood.  This means that oatmeal is particularly good at improving cholesterol measures because it improves three different factors. Fibre is, of course, good for digestion as well and oats offer more soluble than other grains, which is an extra benefit. Beta-glucan, being a soluble fiber, actually slows down digestion in the intestines.

This helps to keep blood-sugar levels more stable as the body doesn’t absorb sugar so quickly – which can also benefit diabetes sufferers. It also appears to help stimulate the immune system, though this has not been clinically proven as yet. There is a particularly powerful anti-oxidant found almost exclusively in oats, called avenanthramides. Avenanthramides are thought to lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the blood. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow.  In addition, oats contain a particularly powerful anti-oxidant called ferulic acid, which is not only more powerful than vitamin E and C, but it enhances the abilities of the other-anti-oxidants.

Instant oats are less nutritious because they have been processed more. Rolled, crushed or steel-cut oat is preferred. Proper oatmeal is a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  Half a cup of oats will contain a balanced selection of nutrients as well as 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, but only 300 calories. This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

Fish can increase the levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL. Shutterstock.

7. Oily Fish

Oily fish refers to fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower the risk of heart disease, improve mental ability, and protect against cancer, dementia, and arthritis.  Fish are probably the only food which can provide us with vitamin D. While lack of Vitamin D is usually associated with lack of exposure to sunlight, fear of skin cancer has begun to cause Vitamin D deficiency even in sunny countries. Fish oils are also particularly good at lowering the level of a certain type of fat in the blood – triglycerides – an excess of which can collect in your arteries and clog them.

Fish oils also help to lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, lower heart and stroke risks and reduce irregular heartbeats. They also increase the levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL. Of course, they are also a good source of protein with low-fat content. As attractive as fish seem to be in terms of healthy eating, it is possible (but unlikely) to eat so much fish that the levels of fish oils become dangerous.  In addition, fish high on the marine food chain, such as tuna, may contain high levels of poisonous heavy metals such as mercury.  Pregnant women should be careful about eating certain kinds of fish, though the Omega-3s in fish oil is essential for the baby’s early growth and development.

The oil in oily fish is also useful for carrying certain nutrients which depend upon fat to be absorbed into the body, which makes fish particularly healthy. As is common with most foods that benefit the heart, eating fish regularly offers a variety of other health benefits to many other areas of the body.  Try to eat fish at least twice a week, preferably with a meal that contains some fat which helps it to be absorbed. If you are allergic to fish, walnut oil is similar in nature.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Nuts can can lower your bad cholesterol level (LDL). Shutterstock.

8. Nuts

Nuts contain a lot of goodness in a small package. They are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids (the good fat) in the form of both monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat (omega-6 and omega-3). Nuts are easy to store, provide lots of fiber, protein, and nutrients and can easily be eaten on the go – this makes them an easy alternative to unhealthy snacks.  They might be one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy. Just be careful not to eat too many because they are high in calories and many of us like the salted varieties – and salt is also better in small quantities. 

And of course, some people are allergic to certain types.  The evidence on whether nuts are good for your heart is yet to be fully clarified.  However, there is evidence that specific nuts can have a beneficial effect on your heart, your blood sugar, and many other chronic diseases. Almonds, for example, can lower your bad cholesterol level (LDL) while also working to help you reduce your weight, which is always a good thing.  They are high in protein and fiber and contain vitamin E, calcium, copper, and magnesium. Eating pistachios will help lower your blood pressure when you’re under stress, while also helping reduce your LDL level. 

Walnuts are noted for their high levels of good fats, increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL. Peanuts, (which are actually a type of bean) are often considered being less healthy than tree nuts, but actually do offer many of the same benefits. Various studies have shown a good impact on heart problems and Type 2 diabetes. However, eating too many of them can hit your waistline worse than tree nuts might, and of course, most of our peanut snacks are salted, so be careful.  All other nuts have similar general health benefits, so don’t limit yourself to the ones listed above.

Olive oil has its own anti-inflammatory properties, which can also help keep your arteries strong and working well. Shutterstock.

9. Olive Oil

Olive oil is the pressed oil from olives – in its pure form, it is known as extra virgin olive oil. If it’s not extra virgin, it means it has been refined or diluted with cheaper oils and is therefore not as good for you. Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants and contains vitamins E and K plus the good fatty acids. Olive oil has its own anti-inflammatory properties, which can also help keep your arteries strong and working well. The beauty of olive oil is that it is so much tastier than most of its alternatives and can be added to your diet in so many ways.  It is also a great substitute for some of the worst offenders in our diet, such as polyunsaturated fats and butter.

Did you know that in many Middle Eastern countries, olive oil is the go-to spread for bread and toast rather than butter? It is also so much easier to spread on a cold day and is great for dipping your bread into with a little of balsamic vinegar added. Even though it is a “good” fat, it is still a fat which should be eaten in moderation. While the benefits of olive oil in your diet are known from population studies, scientists in the laboratory still don’t fully understand why olive oil is good for your heart.

However, there does seem to be signs that the combination of olive oil and green vegetables creates a molecule called “nitro fatty acid” which can relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. The other benefit of olive oil is that it is so easy to combine with other foods which benefit the heart, such as asparagus, garlic or even broccoli.  If you’re like me, thinking about the Mediterranean diet takes you to Italy, which has enough wonderful recipes to keep you going for years.  Just remember that each and every country around the Med has its own wonderful tastes to discover, many of which include olive oil.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Coffee contains antioxidants which help offset inflammatory mediators in the blood  Shutterstock.

10. Coffee

While in the past coffee has been generally considered bad for heart health, researchers have started looking beyond caffeine and found that coffee contains many other compounds which make it less bad for you than previously thought, and may even promote heart health.  While caffeine can exacerbate the symptoms of people who suffer from an irregular heartbeat, there doesn’t seem to be evidence that caffeine will actually cause arrhythmia. The old belief that coffee can cause high blood pressure is also not true.  While it doesn’t cause high blood pressure, coffee can still worsen symptoms for people who suffer from it. In fact, population studies have shown that coffee drinkers enjoy a lower risk of heart-related problems than the general population.  However, notwithstanding these health benefits, too much coffee can be a problem.

As with all the foods listed here, coffee boasts a high concentration of polyphenols—the antioxidants which help offset inflammatory mediators in the blood and which help protect the whole body from a wide range of illnesses, not just heart disease. It seems that coffee supports the endothelial cells which line the arteries and thus allow better blood flow so that the heart has less strain and thus reduces the likelihood of heart issues. There is also broad evidence that coffee intake has other general health benefits and that it can help ward off Alzheimer’s and cancer. Just remember that the sugar you add to your coffee is still bad for your health. Experiment with different types of coffee and ways of brewing coffee to find one which you might enjoy without milk or sugar. With a little determination, you might find that you enjoy black coffee with no sugar.

Combined with the increase in HDL and the reduction of LDL cholesterols, your arteries are better protected. Shutterstock.

11. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has enjoyed some highs and lows recently. First touted as the latest “super-food”, it was then found to increase bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood – it has more saturated fat (the bad one) than butter. In fact, it consists of nearly 90% saturated fatty acids. It also boosts good (HDL) cholesterol production and has been shown to reduce weight and waistlines in people with heart issues (all helpful things in warding off heart disease). Recent research has shown that the saturated fat found in coconut oil is not the same as the “bad” saturated fat you find in butter or meat. The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) that make up coconut oil’s saturated fat are dealt with by your body differently to the long-chain fatty acids found in other fats.

They actually end up being a good source of energy and ketones which can help with some brain disorders like epilepsy or Alzheimers. The energy that comes from the MCTs can also make you burn calories quicker and help with your weight over the long term.  At the same time, the ketones can reduce your appetite causing you to eat less, thus increasing any weight loss.  Even better, it seems the weight loss is often centered on belly fat which is one of the highest risk factors for heart problems.

Combined with the increase in HDL and the reduction of LDL cholesterols, your arteries are better protected. Coconut oil is definitely proving to be a true “super-food” and has a multitude of other benefits and uses. Make sure you buy organic or extra virgin oil though, as the refined oils will not have the same chemical make-up. You can use it for cooking at a high heat, baking, salad dressings, sauces, coffee creamer, to make healthy snacks and as a replacement for butter or other oils. You can also use it as a beauty treatment for your skin or hair.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
It can line blood vessels and thus prevent heart attacks and strokes. Shutterstock.

12. Orange Juice

Orange juice is an easy and simple addition to make your diet more heart-healthy – if it isn’t on your regular diet already.  It is the classic source of Vitamin C and provides a range of nutrients and anti-oxidants, such as potassium, folate, and thiamine. In particular, an antioxidant in orange juice called hesperidin is a flavonoid compound which improves the health of the delicate endothelial cells that line blood vessels and thus prevent heart attacks and strokes. Make sure that you choose complete, fresh orange juice with no added sugar, for best results.  Of course, orange juice contains many other healthful nutrients.

Try and buy the juice which retains the pulp, as this contains the fiber which has its own benefits.  In fact, include actual citrus fruits in your diet whenever you can. Orange juice is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are good for lowering blood pressure levels. Orange juice has lower sugar levels and higher nutrient levels than most other juices, which supports its broad health benefits. The many other health benefits of oranges combine to make for a generally healthier body which will relieve the heart of the need to strain.

Several studies have reported that orange juice intake had beneficial impacts on various markers of oxidative stress and inflammation which can damage your health, including heart health. Some of these benefits include a stronger immune system, stronger, bones, better brain-cell health, improved collagen production for healthier skin, while the Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which in its turn helps the blood absorb oxygen – a key factor in helping your heart.  Thus, washing your iron tablet down with a glass of orange juice will help it to be absorbed quicker. However, drink orange juice in moderation. A single glass of orange juice in the morning is adequate.

t will also reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Shuterstock.

13. Spirulina

You probably don’t spend much time worrying that you may not be getting enough freshwater blue-green algae in your diet, but we hope to change that.  Given that most of us don’t follow the healthiest of diets, there is space on this list for a natural supplement that can boost your intake of the right nutrients.  Spirulina is basically pond scum, a natural “algae”, high in protein, antioxidants, and B-Vitamins, but is dried and completely safe to eat when you buy it in shops. Its cousin Chlorella shares most of the same benefits, but it sounds too similar to the disease to recommend it. 

However, if it’s on special in the health food aisle, go for it. Spirulina has a broad range of health benefits.  With regard to the heart, it helps reduce blood pressure problems and repairs the endothelial cells which line the blood vessels and are easily damaged.  It will also reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Its ability to clean up clogged arteries means that the risk of a stroke is also reduced. Nutrient-dense, protein-rich (it is 70% protein by weight), foods like spirulina take more energy to metabolize, and will, therefore, help reduce weight.  It also seems to reduce hunger pangs, particularly among overweight people.

It extracts sugar from your cells, boosting your energy levels, and may also repair brain cell damage, improve memory and general cognitive function. Other benefits include its ability to extract dangerous heavy metals from our bodies. While Westerners may worry about absorbing mercury from fish, Asians are often troubled by arsenic found in river water. It also helps balance the microbiome in the gut, thereby combatting thrush and similar infections and works to lower blood sugar levels. As always, speak to your doctor before adding supplements to your diet, and make sure you buy high-quality supplements from a reputable supplier.

Whole grains make up a big part of the DASH diet. Shutterstock.

14. Whole Grains

Carbohydrates are generally considered a bad dietary choice these days, but that is usually because we are eating the bad ones where the goodness has been refined out of the food.  Fibre is an important component of a heart-healthy diet, but most people only eat half of the required daily amount.  Fibre mainly comes from whole grains and vegetables and fruit, and everyone knows we are not eating enough veggies and fruit. So don’t leave the carbs out of your diet – just make sure at least half of them are the good ones.  Fibre helps the heart by removing bad cholesterol from the body and can also reduce blood pressure problems. Switching to high-fiber substitutes from refined grains is an easy choice to make, so replace your cereal with a high fiber alternative and wholewheat pasta, brown bread and brown rice instead.

Since brown bread is man-made, spend some time shopping for a bread that has the best fiber load and watches out for added ingredients like extra sugar and salt which may detract from the health benefits of the product.  It may not be called “brown bread” but with a little effort you can find something that you enjoy but still offers whole grain health benefits. Fibre can help you feel full but passes through your body undigested, indeed it can extract certain foods along the way; which means that it adds no calories and can actually reduce your calories.  The fiber in whole grains is usually of the insoluble variety, which means you should ensure you have oats, beans, and legumes in your diet to provide soluble fiber, which is the other useful type.  Make sure you drink lots of water to complement your fiber intake.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Great heart-health benefits. Shutterstock.

15. Green Tea

Green tea is another easy substitute to make in your diet with great heart-health benefits.  It is a refreshing, light aromatic tea which can reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.  Green tea contains polyphenols such as catechins and flavonoids – these are the antioxidants that give green tea its greatest health benefits. Green tea drinkers can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%! While the catechins are available as a separate health supplement, drinking green tea brings a number of extra health benefits as well.

One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties. Green tea also contains caffeine, although less than in coffee, which is a stimulant. Caffeine, in combination with the amino acid L-theanine which is also in green tea, helps improve brain function. It can also slow down the impact of aging on brain neurons, in particular, fighting off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Small studies have shown that green tea can increase the body’s metabolic rate, thus burning more energy and producing weight loss.

The many anti-oxidants and nutrients in green tea attack free radicals in the body, helping defend the body against various types of cancers. The same catechins which are such powerful antioxidants also have antibacterial properties and are particularly helpful in keeping mouth bacteria under control and reducing tooth decay and bad breath. By improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar levels, green tea helps people with diabetes or who are high risk for diabetes.  The overall benefits of green tea – indeed all the foods listed here – mean that it can contribute to a longer and healthier life.

They are absorbed instead of the cholesterol. Pixabay.

16. Foods Fortified by Plant Sterols

The term phytosterols include both plant sterols and plant stanols. Both are chemicals that occur naturally in plants. They have no taste or odor, so it’s easy for manufacturers to fortify foods with them. The original flavor of the food won’t be affected by the fortification. They work because their structure is the same as that as cholesterol. That means that they compete with cholesterol for the opportunity to be absorbed in the intestine. Plant sterols are found in plants like vegetables, fruits, wheat germ, whole grains, beans, sunflower seeds, and many vegetable oils.

And they tend to be victorious. They are absorbed instead of the cholesterol. They don’t cause the same harm that cholesterol does. So, when your body absorbs them instead of cholesterol, your arteries can’t get clogged.Studies conducted have shown that consuming foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols does lower the levels of cholesterol in the body. But you need to eat them every day to take advantage of their benefits. Foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols include wholegrain bread and cereals, rice and pasta, and reduced-fat dairy products.

Turmeric is a spice that not only boosts the taste of your food but also improves your health. Shutterstock.

17. Turmeric

Turmeric is traditionally used in Indian cooking. It gives curries their yellowish color. Not only is it tasty, but it also creates a pleasing aesthetic when you use it in your cooking. But, even more importantly, it has a variety of healing properties. Its active ingredient is curcumin. This substance is rich in antioxidants. They stop fatty deposits from building up in your arteries before they even start. Some study has been done on turmeric and its effect on the health of your arteries.

Mice were the subjects of the study. After 16 weeks, those mice fed a diet rich in curcumin had a 26% reduction in fatty deposits in their arteries. This means that curcumin may prevent the development of atherosclerosis. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can help to reduce the damage clogging does to your arteries. If you’re not a curry fan, you can still get turmeric into your diet. Try out a golden latte. It’s a beverage made with a healthy sprinkling of turmeric.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Persimmons are full of antioxidants and polyphenols. Shutterstock.

18. Persimmons

A persimmon is a fruit that looks like a large orange tomato. Its flesh is sweet which makes it highly favorable to the palate. You can eat them as they are or include them in salads and baked pies and cakes. They are produced in China, Korea, and Japan. However, they are also grown in Southern Europe, Britain, and America. Persimmons reduce LDL levels. These low-density lipoproteins are the so-called bad cholesterol.

Left unchecked, high levels of LDL can clog up your arteries, making you a heart attack waiting to happen. Persimmons also reduce triglycerides. Triglycerides are lipids (fats) found in your body. They are formed in the body when it converts calories it doesn’t require into straight away into triglycerides. The fewer fats you have stored in your body, the less likely they are to clog up your arteries. Persimmons are full of antioxidants and polyphenols. There is also fiber present which clears the arteries and regulates the blood pressure.

Cinnamon can prevent oxidative stress. Shutterstock.

19. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is an inexpensive yet effective way to treat heart diseases such as clogged arteries. Studies into its efficacy show that cinnamon can have a positive effect on your heart. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants. They prevent oxidative stress. The oxidation process can lead to free radicals affecting the blood cells and damaging blood vessels such as the coronary arteries. These free radicals can do a lot of damage to the body and may even cause some forms of cancer.

During research, rats were fed a cinnamon diet. When their blood was studied, it was found to contain higher levels of antioxidants. The main component of cinnamon is called cinnamaldehyde. It has been studied for its capacity for preventing the formation of blood clots and reducing platelet aggregation. Platelet aggregation can cause blood clots to form in the arteries. Cinnamon is also a rich source of calcium, manganese, and fiber. These help with the production of bile which is made possible by the breakdown of cholesterol.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Improvements in their circulation, arterial rigidity, and blood pressure. Shutterstock.

20. Cranberries

The cranberry is often underrated and estimated. But it is proof that dynamite does come in small packages. These little berries of full of amazing compounds that are good for your overall health and well-being. Research indicates that cranberries are full of phytonutrients. These, in turn, contain polyphenols. Polyphenols have a vascular impact. They improve the health of your blood vessels.

A study conducted on 10 men showed growing improvements in their circulation, arterial rigidity, and blood pressure. The men had to drink just under 2 cups of sweetened cranberry juice diluted at different ratios with water. Even the cranberry juice mixed with other fruit juice such as that you can buy at the grocery store made a difference. This juice usually has a 25-27% cranberry juice content. Other studies have shown that cranberry sauce is equally beneficial. The research shows that it is a good idea to include cranberries in your diet. But you need to use them in combination with other remedies to unclog your arteries.

It’s possible that cheese could lower your blood pressure. Shutterstock.

21. Cheese

You would think that cheese would be a big culprit in the clogging up of your arteries. This is not necessarily the case. It’s possible that cheese could lower your blood pressure. This is good news. High blood pressure increases the rate at which arterial plaque builds up in the arteries. It also speeds up the hardening of the clogs in the arteries. High blood pressure is a warning sign that your arteries may be clogged. It could put you at risk of a heart attack.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School saw some surprising results when it comes to cheese. Those that ate three daily servings of low-fat dairy have lower blood pressure than those who do not. But readers should note the keyword here: low-fat. It is essential to read the labels when you buy dairy products to make sure they’re low-fat. Otherwise, you’ll be adding to your problems with clogged arteries instead of solving them.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
Amino acids in watermelon help the body produce nitric oxide. Shutterstock.

22. Watermelon

There’s nothing to beat a delicious slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day. It’s sweet and refreshing. It’s the perfect base for a fruit salad. Or you can enjoy some own its own. Not only that, it’s an excellent diet food. Watermelon is recommended for people who want to lose weight. In addition to this benefit of watermelon, it can assist in the protection of your heart as well. It contains an amino acid called L-citrulline.

A study conducted at Florida State University studied people who were given a 4,000mg dose of L-citrulline. After a mere six weeks, their blood pressure had declined. It’s believed that the amino acids in watermelon help the body produce nitric oxide. This substance widens the blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow to the heart more easily. It also decreases the rate at which plaque grows in the arteries and prevents blood clots from forming. People with pre-existing heart conditions take nitroglycerin. It works by converting into nitric oxide.

Popeye loves spinach, and you should learn to love it too with all the benefits it gives. Shutterstock.

23. Spinach

There are so many benefits to including spinach in your diet. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. All leafy green vegetables are good for you, and spinach is no exception. Two of the most important substances we get from spinach are potassium and folate. These two substances are believed to your blood pressure which puts less strain on the arteries.

One of the most important things to remember with spinach is that cooking it removes a lot of the vitamins and minerals it contains. That’s why it’s a good idea to steam it gently or eat it raw. It might not suit everyone’s palate to each spinach this way. But raw spinach in a smoothie with some chocolate-flavored protein powder is the ideal way to get your daily portion. You can also include it in salads or serve it as an omelet filling. A single serving of leafy green vegetables like spinach each day can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by up to 11%.

The fiber in lentils reduces the LDL levels in the body. Shutterstock.

24. Lentils

Lentils contain a protein and fiber punch that your body needs to stay healthy. The lentil is a member of the legume family of vegetables. This includes beans and peas. Lentils grow in pods. You can get green, red, brown, and black lentils. They contain high amounts of folate and manganese. That’s why lentils are essential in reducing your risk of heart disease and other conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

The fiber in lentils reduces the LDL levels in the body. These ‘bad cholesterol’ levels can cause your arteries to clog up. The potassium, magnesium, and calcium in lentils are thought to reduce your blood pressure. You can substitute meat with lentils if you have really high cholesterol levels and you need to make radical changes to your diet. Another attractive factor about lentils is that they are inexpensive and easy to cook. They can also be incorporated into stews and soups to add fiber and flavor. And they help to ensure your arteries don’t get clogged up.

30 Best Foods To Help Unclog Arteries - And What To Avoid
The protein found in beans is essential for the unclogging of your arteries. Shutterstock.

25. Beans

Beans come in various forms. Among others, you get great northern beans, fava beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, and chickpeas. Contrary to its name, the chickpea is a bean. It’s also known as the garbanzo bean. And let’s not forget the good old baked bean in tomato sauce. All of them are extremely healthy for you as they contain a lot of protein and soluble fiber.

The protein found in beans is essential for the unclogging of your arteries. Proteins contain all the amino acids your body needs. They are the building blocks of all the cells in your body. They also help to reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Soluble fiber binds to your body’s bile salts which ensures your body doesn’t reabsorb them. It keeps blood sugar spikes under control. These episodes increase the amount of cholesterol in your body. The reason for this is that a blood sugar spike causes the liver to produce more cholesterol.

Many spices can improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Shutterstock.

26. Spices and herbs

To unclog your arteries, you can do something as simple as adding spices and herbs to your diet. Not only are they good for you, but they also add a special flavor to a meal and make it taste better. Spices and herbs are harvested from plants. These plants are able to protect their own cells from pests, etc. When the plant is converted into an herb or spice, it still has those protective powers. Except now, it’s protecting the cells of your body.

Examples of spices you should keep in your home and use in your cooking are plentiful. Here are just a few: Garlic improves cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Both of these properties reduce your risk of heart disease. Turmeric’s main ingredient is curcumin. This spice reduces your cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as your blood sugar. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that thin the blood, preventing clots. Cinnamon improves your circulation and keeps your blood sugar under control. Other examples include nutmeg, allspice, nutmeg, and Italian seasoning.

Eating soluble fiber stimulates the need for bile acid. Unsplash.

27. Chia Seeds

The chia seed is a plant-based food that has the highest concentration of Omega-3 oils. It contains more than salmon, which is widely believed to be the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in calcium. In fact, they contain more calcium than milk. They also contain more magnesium than broccoli. And the fact that they’re packed with magnesium is also important for your overall health and well-being.

Chia seeds contain a lot of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is important in the fight against cholesterol. Your liver makes bile acid to digest foods. It needs cholesterol to make bile acid. Eating soluble fiber stimulates the need for bile acid. So, by eating foods such as chia seeds, you increase the need for bile acid and reduce cholesterol levels. The best part about chia seeds is that you can include them in just about any dish you serve as they have no taste. So, they won’t affect the flavor of your cooking.

Another great food to add to your casseroles or sandwiches to boost your immunity is tomatoes. Shutterstock.

28. Tomatoes

If you’ve ever wondered why tomatoes are red, here’s your answer. They contain an antioxidant called proteinoid lycopene. It’s also found in green tomatoes or light red tomatoes as well. A diet that contains a lot of lycopene can lower the oxidation of bad cholesterol in your body. Bad cholesterol is what clogs up your arteries and causes atherosclerosis. It is the LDL cholesterol we must avoid. It also reduces the build-up of plaque in your arteries.

When we’re told about the important components in fruits and vegetables that are good for us, we’re told cooking them reduces the goodness. With tomatoes, this is not true. Their lycopene levels are stronger in tomatoes that have been cooked. In addition to the powerful antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes contain high levels of Vitamin A and C, as well as folic acid and beta-carotene. Tomatoes have anti-inflammatory properties which can lower the risk of heart disease. Increased inflammation in the arteries can lead to their susceptibility to becoming clogged.

The LDL levels are lowered in the body when insoluble fiber. Shuterstock.

29. Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, the saying goes. And it appears that it’s more than an adage, it’s the truth. Researchers at Ohio State University discovered that eating an apple a day reduced the hardening of arteries up to 40%. The magic ingredient in apples that makes it great for unclogging your arteries is called pectin. It gives the fruit its firmness, which allows us to enjoy a crisp apple. Pectin is a complex substance. It contains polysaccharides and a sugar residue called D-galacturonic acid.

Pectin seems to lower the levels of cholesterol in the body. It contains a lot of insoluble fiber. For this fiber to be digested, it needs bile acid. To make bile acid, the liver uses cholesterol. The more cholesterol used to digest insoluble fiber, the less there is to clog up your arteries. The LDL levels are lowered in the body when insoluble fiber such as that in apples is introduced to the digestive system.

Flaxseeds. Pixabay.

30. Flaxseeds

A study conducted and published in the American Journal of Physiology and Circulation Research looked at the effects of flaxseeds on rabbits. They found that introducing flaxseed into the rabbits’ diet slowed down the progression of atherosclerosis. This is the build-up of plaque in the arteries which can cause the blockage or constriction of an artery. This results in a heart attack. It’s not yet clear though if flaxseeds can reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries that has already accumulated.

Flaxseeds are a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This is essential to the metabolic process. It is not produced in the body and needs to be obtained from food sources. The soluble fiber in flaxseed is important as it stimulates the production of bile acids which help to expel waste from the body. There are lots of ways to include flaxseed in your diet. You can buy it ground to a fine powder. This can be included in a bowl of cereal or oatmeal.

You need a well-balanced diet of all food groups. Shutterstock

31. That’s a lot of helpful foods!

Now that we know what are the “Best Foods That Help Unclog Arteries” lets have a look at what foods to avoid. 
You should avoid these foods like fire if you want to unclog your arteries.  When it comes to heart health, you might already know that eating healthy and avoiding junk food is a good place to start. But it can be more complicated than you think. Plenty of foods you enjoy every day, even foods that are otherwise healthy for you, might actually do a lot of damage to your heart.

Because of this, it is always important to be aware of both what you should avoid and why you should avoid it. If you’re living with heart failure, making some simple adjustments to your diet can improve your quality of life. For starters, aim to eat a variety of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals and full of fiber, which helps your body regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.

A connection between regularly eating red meat and being at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Shutterstock.

32. Red Meat

Red meat, which refers to meat that is red in color when raw, like beef or lamb, isn’t the best thing for your heart. One study claimed that people who consume red meat on a daily basis had high levels of Trimethylamine N-oxide, a chemical linked to heart disease. Other researchers also found a connection between regularly eating red meat and being at risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Eating too much beef, lamb, and pork may raise your odds for heart disease and diabetes. It may be because they’re high in saturated fat, which can boost cholesterol. More recent studies point to how gut bacteria process a part of the meat called L-carnitine. Limit your portions. Also, look for lean cuts like round, sirloin, and extra-lean ground beef.

Lowers the amount of oxygen going to your heart. Shutterstock.

33. Canned Vegetables and Soups

Canned vegetables and canned soups seem like a convenient way to add more veggies to your diet, but they often contain too much added salt, especially if they come with sauce or broth. Too much salt increases blood pressure, which lowers the amount of oxygen going to your heart, which can even lead to a heart attack. Many of the preservatives used in these canned goods can be harmful and one popular soup additive, monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has been linked to heart palpitations.

Consuming too much salt (sodium) can result in fluid retention in the healthiest of people. In those with heart failure, excess sodium can cause serious complications. It can also worsen high blood pressure (hypertension), which can exacerbate existing heart failure. What’s more, high-sodium diets are usually high in fat and calories as well, which can contribute to obesity and its complications. Unfortunately, sodium is in almost everything we consume, which can make a low-sodium diet feel like a challenge. It is especially high in processed, prepared, canned, and smoked foods.

Many trans-fats present in packaged foods . Pixabay.

34. Frozen Meals

Frozen meals, especially TV dinners, are convenient, cheap, and often low in calories. However, many frozen meals have high levels of sodium, often used to flavor food, as well as a preservative. People should eat around 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day, but many frozen dinners can have half that in a single meal. Frozen foods can be high in sodium, too, so aim for 600 milligrams or fewer per serving for heart health. For frozen vegetables or fruits, avoid those with added sugar or high-fat sauces.

Another health risk that is associated with frozen or processed food is heart disease. The trans fats that are present in packaged foods increase your risk of contracting heart disease and also contribute to clogged arteries. Trans fats increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and also lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which is responsible for elevating the risk of heart disease. Sodium is widely used as a preservative. The added salt in frozen food increases your cholesterol levels as well, while also increasing your blood pressure.

Processed meats are those preserved using salts, nitrites, or other preservatives. Shutterstock.

35. Cured Meats

Hot dogs, sausage, salami, and lunch meat are the worst types of meats for your heart. They have high amounts of salt, and most are high in saturated fat. When it comes to deli meats, turkey is better for you than salami because it doesn’t have the saturated fat. But it still has a fair amount of sodium, so it isn’t as heart-healthy as fresh sliced turkey breast. Processed meats are those preserved using salts, nitrites, or other preservatives.

They include hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami, and other deli meats, including deli ham, turkey, bologna, and chicken. Long-term observational studies have found that the worst types of meats for the heart are those that are processed. Why it harms the heart. It’s likely that the high levels of salt and preservatives found in processed meats are part of the problem.

Adding coffee creamer can cause the health of your immune system to decline. Shutterstock.

36. Coffee Creamer

Coffee creamers often contain partially hydrogenated oils, a common source of trans fats that can increase cholesterol levels. Generally, if you don’t like your coffee black, milk is a healthier option. Adding plant-based milk is usually a good alternative to coffee creamer. Some non-dairy creamers can even contain trans fat, which adds to your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels; and adding a high-cholesterol chemical mix can only be bad news if you’re trying to keep your cholesterol count down. What is in it? Partially Hydrogenated Oils.

Thickeners alone can’t make a cream-free liquid taste luxuriously creamy, which is where partially hydrogenated oils, or synthetic trans fats, come in. These highly processed fats are downright dangerous, raising levels of bad cholesterol, and put you at higher risk for heart disease. All this can boost your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. You should not consume more than 2 grams of trans fat in a day, and some brands of non-dairy creamer can contain 1 gram per tablespoon. Non-dairy creamer can go bad. One of the perks of non-dairy creamers is that they keep longer than milk or cream.

Linked to higher triglyceride levels, and that can lead to heart disease. Shutterstock.

37. Skip Deserts

In general, desserts should be enjoyed in moderation, but baked goods, like pies, can be especially troublesome due to their trans fats. One report found that there was a positive correlation between heart disease and trans fatty acids. Many baked goods are flavored with sugar, which can place stress on the heart if eaten in excess. Sugar in food can also contain glucose 6-phosphate, which can lower heart functions to the point of heart failure.

Cookies, cakes, and muffins should be rare treats. They’re typically loaded with added sugar, which leads to weight gain. They’re also linked to higher triglyceride levels, and that can lead to heart disease. Their main ingredient is usually white flour, which may spike your blood sugar and make you hungrier. Make healthier treats: Swap in whole-wheat flour, trim the sugar, and use liquid plant oils instead of butter or shortening.

Ice cream often contains high levels of cholesterol. Shutterstock.

38. Ice Cream

Ice cream is high in sugar, calories, and saturated fat, so save it for a special treat. Eating foods loaded with fat and sugar leads to weight gain. It can also drive up your triglycerides and lead to a heart attack. Cut your calories and fat by choosing sorbet, low-fat or nonfat frozen yogurt, or frozen fruit bars.

Check the label for the least amount of sugar and saturated fat. Ice cream often contains high levels of cholesterol. Half a cup of vanilla ice cream contains over 4 grams of saturated fats. This is more than a quarter of what adults should have in a day, and richer flavors can have even more.

Fried foods are extremely processed and oily. Pxhere.

39. Fried foods

In general, fried foods are bad for your health because the frying process creates trans fats. A 4 ounce serving of fried chicken can have as much cholesterol as 11 strips of bacon. By contrast, a grilled chicken breast can be a good source of protein in a weight-loss diet. Over time, high amounts of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbs raise your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

If you’re worried about your heart, you’ll want to keep these out of regular rotation.  But rather than fixate on any one bad food, it’s wise to focus on your overall diet. You can still have these things if you mostly eat heart-healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Things like Deep-frying chicken adds calories, fat, and sodium to otherwise healthy food. Studies have linked fried food with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure — all of which raise your odds of heart failure. For a crispy but healthier choice, bread skinless chicken breasts in whole-wheat flour and bake instead of frying.

Sodas and fruit drinks can increase the risk of heart disease. Pixabay

40. Soda

One study claimed that regularly drinking soda that was sweetened with sugar can increase the risk of heart disease. Even diet soda isn’t that much better. Other research claims that people who regularly consume artificially sweetened soda were at a greater risk for stroke and heart disease. An astounding 184,000 adult deaths worldwide each year are linked to the consumption of sugary drinks, according to research published conducted at Tufts University and published in the journal Circulation.

This includes 133,000 deaths from diabetes and 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease. Harvard researchers, who have been studying more than 40,000 physicians and 88,000 nurses for more than two decades, found that women who consumed more than two servings of a sugary beverage a day were 40 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women who drank fewer. Men who drank the most sodas were 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who drank the least.

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources: 

https://medical-news.org/30-best-foods-that-help-unclog-
https://www.thehealthy.com/heart-disease/best-foods-to-eat-clogged-arteries/
https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/best-foods-eat-avoid-clogged-arteries/
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/foods-that-could-help-unclog-your-arteries/
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/heart-healthy-foods
https://brightside.me/inspiration-health/
https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/10/04/researchers-suggest-way-to-possibly-eliminate-artery-clogging-condition
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/chol_tlc.pdf

 

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