Foods That Clean Arteries & Help the Heart

Written by rachel de carlos
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It's possible to reverse the effects of unhealthy eating habits that have caused a build-up of cholesterol and other materials in your arteries. Change your eating habits to include nutritious whole foods and your cardiovascular health will improve. Choose fresh foods whenever possible, or read labels to avoid buying products with ingredients that clog your arteries in the first place.

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The Facts

Atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in the arteries, is the main cause of heart disease and stroke. Over the years, unhealthy eating has caused deposits, such as cholesterol, to collect on artery walls. There is a wide variety of foods that will remove this build-up and, along with exercise on most days of the week, will promote long-term health.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables, such as apples, berries, red and purple grapes, pomegranates, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, swiss chard and spinach, contain vitamins and minerals that keep cholesterol from oxidising and turning to plaque. The soluble and insoluble fibre helps remove cholesterol from the body. Other nutrients contained in fresh fruit and vegetables help prevent blood clots from forming and improve the health of the tissue in the heart and the inside of the arteries.

Fats

All fats are not the same. Avoid foods with hydrogenated fats, which are found in chips, crackers, cookies and pastries, and trans-fatty acids found in fried foods. Avoid dairy products with more than 1% fat.

Fats that will help clean arteries are fish oils, omega-3 oils and monounsaturated fats, which can be found in nuts, seeds, avocados and oily fish like salmon and mackerel. These fats help prevent the blood from clotting and the cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls.

Benefits

Eating foods that clean out the arteries will not only lead to improved cardiovascular health, it will improve digestion, aid in weight loss, ease joint pain and increase metabolism. Balanced nutrition increases energy levels and alertness through greater circulation of oxygen throughout the body and to the brain. Continuing to eat heart healthy foods, which are rich in fibre and antioxidants and low in cholesterol and bad fats, will ensure long-term cardiac health.

Considerations

Before changing your diet, it's important to consult your physician, especially if you're taking medication to counteract the effects of atherosclerosis. Eating foods that clean your arteries will have an effect on your blood pressure. Your doctor may want to monitor your progress and make changes to your medication as your cardiovascular health improves.

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