The arteries are the blood vessels responsible for the transportation of blood rich in oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body. A normal artery is flexible and elastic. On the flip side, clogged arteries is a condition that is very serious, increasing the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and peripheral vascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S, claiming more than 600.000 lives annually.
Symptoms of Blocked Arteries
Symptoms of clogged arteries depend on the type of arteries being affected:
- Carotid arteries (unexplained falls, loss of balance, sudden weakness, severe headaches, confusion, breathing problems, paralysis, blurry vision, trouble walking and dizziness)
- Coronary arteries: (pressure in the jaw, neck, arms, shoulders, and back; angina, shortness of breath, and heartbeat problems)
- Renal arteries: (kidney failure, hypertension)
- Peripheral arteries: (infections, numbness, pain)
10 Natural Foods to Help Prevent Clogged Arteries
According to a 2011 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, curcumin (in turmeric) reduces cholesterol and suppresses early atherosclerotic lesions better than the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. A 2006 study on mice found that curcumin was effective at preventing artery damage.
Garlic is one of the best foods that support arteries. It has been scientifically shown that it helps prevent heart disease, slow down atherosclerosis, and lower blood pressure levels. According to a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis in 1999, garlic could prevent accumulation of plaque in the arteries.
Ginger is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, providing heart-protective compounds like gingerols and shogaols. These prevent plaque buildup by reducing total cholesterol. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that ginger extract could reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, LDL aggregation, LDL-linked fat peroxides, and aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas.
- Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin, found in cayenne pepper, supports the arteries and reduces LDL cholesterol in the blood. It can also improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with HIV protease inhibitor ritonavir is associated with accelerating atherosclerosis and pulmonary artery hypertension. According to a 2009 study, capsaicin could prevent pulmonary and vascular complications related to HAART drugs.
Cinnamon is effective at reducing various risk factors associated with heart disease and atherosclerosis. A 2003 study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 found that either 1 gram, 3 grams, or 6 grams of cinnamon a day can lower LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and total cholesterol in type 2 diabetics.
- Ground Flaxseed
Ground flaxseeds keeps the arteries healthy due to their high fiber content. These are also high in alpha-linolenic acide, an omega-3 acid that can reduce both blood pressure and inflammation, keeping the arteries clean and unclogged. According to a 1997 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, flaxseed lowered the development of aortic atherosclerosis by 46 percent in rabbits.
- Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are able to prevent a blocked artery. It has been scientifically proven that they can prevent the progression of atherosclerosis. According to a 3-month animal study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2006, the fats in sesame oil could inhibit blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and atherosclerosis lesion formation in mice.
- Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate is packed with antioxidants and punicic acid which help reduce plaque formation and fight atherosclerosis. Pomegranate is also an excellent source of important nutrients like magnesium and selenium. According to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, drinking 240 milliliters (ml) of pomegranate juice a day for up to a year slowed the progression of carotid artery disease.
- Fermented Cabbage
Kimchi is a very popular Korean recipe made with fermented cabbage and hot peppers which has been shown to slow the atherosclerotic process. According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 3-94-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenyl, an active compound in kimchi, can help prevent the development of aortic atherosclerosis in high-cholesterol-fed rabbits
Lemon is known for its ability to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent oxidative damage. Also, lemons are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant which has been found to reduce inflammation, strengthen arteries, reduce total cholesterol, inhibit platelet aggregation, and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL).