Coronary artery disease occurs when arteries--the major blood vessels that the heart uses to pump blood from the heart to the rest of the body--become congested with a fatty substance known as plaque. The build-up of plaque can harden arteries and compromise blood flow, both of which may lead to a heart attack. Fortunately, you can strengthen artery walls and reduce plaque build up by using one of several natural methods.
Engage in vigorous, aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart; it also improves circulation because it keeps blood vessels flexible and open.
Set a schedule for exercising and stick to it. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of physical activity at a time, four to six days a week.
Maintain consistency with your exercise plan; consistency holds the key to staying heart-healthy. Use improved heart health as a motivator.
Avoid certain foods. Foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat cause plaque build up, as do deep fried foods, processed foods and foods with trans fats. Restrict red meat and alcohol since both contribute to plaque production.
Eat more fibre. Fibre inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol. It also promotes a feeling of fullness, which leads to reduced calorie consumption. Some excellent fibre sources include whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids--found in cold-water fish such as salmon, walnuts, flax seeds and olive oil--reduce arterial plaque.
Consume foods that contain niacin, which raises HDL, or "good cholesterol." HDL removes LDL, or "bad cholesterol," and plaque.
Eat foods that contain Vitamin C, which repairs coronary and carotid arteries, and minimises arterial inflammation.
Eat foods with flavonoids, which minimise arterial inflammation. Flavonoids appear in highly-coloured fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, red peppers and broccoli. Flavonoids also increase collagen production, which in turn strengthens the body's fibrous networks, including arteries.
Take select herbal supplements. Certain herbal supplements may strengthen arteries and reduce plaque because of their circulation-improving properties. These include hawthorn berry, horsetail, ginger and garlic.
Season food with cayenne pepper. Cayenne contains capsaicin, a compound that improves circulation.
Drink green tea; it keeps arteries flexible and relaxed, thus improving blood flow.
Prior to starting any exercise plan, undergo a full physical examination with a licensed medical practioner.
Tips and warnings
- Prior to starting any exercise plan, undergo a full physical examination with a licensed medical practioner.
- HealthierTalk.com: How To Naturally Avoid and Remove Dangerous Arterial Plaque
- NYTimes.com: Physical Activity, Exercise's Effects on the Heart
- TheHealthyVillage.com: Vitamins and Supplements Protect Joints, Connective Tissue and Arteries
- FamilyDoctor.org: Coronary Artery Disease, Reducing Your Risk
- TimeMagazine: Does Green Tea Help Heart Health?
- Alive: Herbs for Your Heart