Did you know that high cholesterol and high blood pressure are the two major contributors toward clogged arteries?
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are flexible, strong, elastic and free from any deposits.
However, when fat, cholesterol and other substances build up in the arteries, they can become clogged and eventually narrow and harden. This condition, which results in reduced blood flow through the arteries, is called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, which includes peripheral vascular disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S, taking over 600,000 lives annually. Since the condition doesn’t cause any symptoms, it is very difficult to diagnose.
Symptoms of clogged arteries
The symptoms of clogged arteries likely depend on the type of arteries being affected.
- Carotid artery disease: It occurs when you have clogged arteries in your brain. Symptoms include blurry vision, trouble with speech, unexplained falls, dizziness, severe headaches, confusion, sudden weakness, breathing problems, and loss of balance or coordination.
- Coronary artery disease: It occurs when the arteries in the heart are clogged, which makes the heart muscle unable to get oxygen-rich blood. Symptoms include chest pain, squeezing in the jaw, neck, arms, shoulders, and back, shortness of breath, and heartbeat.
- Chronic kidney disease: It occurs when the arteries in your kidneys are clogged. There are no symptoms early in kidney disease but progressive symptoms typically include loss of appetite, concentration problems, numbness, swelling in the feet or hands, tiredness, and nausea.
- Peripheral artery disease: It occurs when arteries in your arms, legs, and pelvis are clogged. Typical symptoms of this condition include pain or numbness in the affected area.
What causes your arteries to get blocked?
Atherosclerosis is a disease defined as hardening or thickening of the arteries. What allows the blood to keep flowing is the thin layer of endothelial cells.
However, there are a few factors that damage endothelial cells (and form atherosclerotic lesion) including free radicals, antioxidant deficiency, increased homocysteine levels, and vitamin C deficiency.
Plaque will accumulate when various substances are unable to migrate out of the atherosclerotic lesion. These substances include toxic metals, cellular waste, calcium, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood clotting materials.
Although the real cause of clogged arteries remains unclear, mounting evidence suggests that atherosclerosis is a complex condition which might start in childhood and develop as you get older. Factors like diabetes, insulin resistance, smoking, and hypertension are known to be damaging to the arteries.
10 natural foods to unclog your arteries
Your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins drugs, or beta-blockers that lower blood pressure. These will help slow the progression of plaque buildup.
However, there are also plenty of well-researched foods that can unclog your arteries naturally.
Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which aid in improving heart health.
Curcumin helps protect the cardiovascular system from damage by reducing and preventing blockages of the arteries. Also, it lowers the level of LDL (bad cholesterol), to reduce buildup in the arteries.
According to a 2011 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, turmeric lowers cholesterol levels and suppresses early atherosclerotic lesions even better than lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants that help inhibit the action of free radicals, making it an essential ingredient in preventing heart problems and blocked arteries.
Regular intake of garlic reduces the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. It also widens blood vessels, improves blood circulation and helps prevent hardening of the aorta.
As shown by a 1999 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, garlic is quite effective in preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. Another 1999 study has found that garlic lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke by over 50 percent. Ultimately, a 1997 review published in the journal Nutrition found that garlic works great when it comes to both preventing and treating atherosclerosis.
Ginger is known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains gingerols and shogaols, both of which are powerful heart-protective compounds.
A 2000 study published in the Journal of Nutrition has found that ginger extract has the ability to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas, LDL aggregation, and LDL-related fat peroxides.
4. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a substance which reduced LDL cholesterol naturally. Also, it can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as improve blood circulation.
Lemon is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and it helps the arteries by preventing oxidative damage. Lemons are also a great source of the potent antioxidant vitamin C. High doses of vitamin C have been found to strengthen arteries, reduce total cholesterol, inhibit platelet aggregation, and reduce inflammation.
Cinnamon reduces various risk factors linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease. According to a 2003 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, a gram, three grams, or six grams of cinnamon a day can lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose in diabetics.
Flaxseed helps unclog arteries thanks to its high fiber content. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids which helps reduce both blood pressure and inflammation. In a 1997 study flaxseed reduced the development of aortic atherosclerosis by 46 percent in rabbits.
8. Fermented cabbage
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that an active compound in fermented cabbage called 3-94-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenyl can help prevent the development of aortic atherosclerosis in high-cholesterol-fed rabbits.
9. Pomegranate juice
Pomegranates contain a high level of antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body. They also aid in reducing fatty deposits in the arteries, thus helping prevent serious problems like atherosclerosis.
This fruit also stimulates the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps keep your arteries open and your blood flowing. This prevents plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries.
According to a 2009 study, drinking 240 ml of pomegranate juice a day for 18 months significantly slowed the progression of carotid artery disease.
10. Chia seeds
A prized food item of the Mayan and Aztec cultures, chia seeds have a myriad of health benefits. It is the richest plant based source of omega 3 fatty acids. The combination of omega 3 fatty acids and fiber make chia seeds the most heart friendly food. It can decrease bad cholesterol, manage blood pressure and clear your arteries.