How to unclog veins and arteries

Updated April 17, 2017

Arteries and veins are both blood vessels but with different functions. Arteries pump blood away from the heart to replenish the rest of your body with nutrients and oxygen, while veins bring the blood back to the heart. To stay healthy, you must strive to keep these blood vessels unclogged. Clogged arteries may lead to atherosclerosis, build-up of fats in and on your artery walls (plaques), which can restrict blood flow, according to the Mayo Clinic. If these plaques burst, you can get blood clots in your veins.

Stop smoking immediately and get exercise most days of the week. Smoking damages your blood vessels and makes it harder for you to exercise. Exercise will help your blood circulation and help your body develop new blood vessels, thereby reducing the pressure on your already clogged vessels. Engage in muscle-strengthening exercises such as push-ups, squats and sit-ups, in addition to cardiovascular exercise such as jogging, biking, walking, stair climbing and swimming.

Eat a healthy diet. Avoid hydrogenated fats, processed meals and bars, salty and sugary foods and all white-flour baked goods. Fruit, vegetables, water, nuts, whole-grain products and lean meats and fish should be the main staples of your diet. Cherries, strawberries, garlic, spinach, wild salmon, olive oil, green tea and sweet potatoes will help unclog your arteries naturally.

Lose weight and maintain your weight. "If you're overweight, losing as few as 5 to 10 pounds [2.3 to 4.5 kg] can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two of the major risk factors for developing atherosclerosis," reports the Mayo Clinic. Maintaining your weight will lower your blood pressure and reduce your chances of getting diabetes.

Ask your doctor about drugs to help unclog your arteries. Medications lowering bad cholesterol--low-density lipoprotein -- and boasting the good kind--high-density lipoprotein--are available, in addition to anti-platelet medications, which will reduce your chances of developing blood clots in your veins.

Consider surgery if your arteries remain clogged. Choices include angioplasty, bypass surgery, thrombolytic therapy and endarterectomy.

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About the Author

Julia Derek is a certified Manhattan-based trainer and writer. She has 14 years experience in the fitness industry. She works at Reebok Sports Club/NY or through her company Her writing has appeared in New York Post, Los Angeles Daily News, and AM/NY. She attended George Mason University.