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Posted on: January 14, 2019 at 12:18 am
Last updated: May 27, 2019 at 11:11 am

When arteries clog, it can lead to a problem for the whole body.  Unlike a house whose plumbing has become blocked, Unfortunately, we cannot call a plumber to deal with our arteries.

The condition related to clogged arteries is called arteriosclerosis. It occurs when plaque builds on the arterial walls and begin to narrow them over time.

Years of build-up can considerably increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Luckily there are many factors that can be controlled to help reduce this risk, like adhering to a fresh and healthy diet!

So, without further ado, here are 12 foods to eat to improve your heart health and help prevent clogged arteries:

Cantaloupe 

Cantaloupes are an excellent source of potassium (1). A diet that is adequate in potassium is very important for the health of our cardiovascular system. When it comes to blood pressure, the mineral we always think of is sodium, however, that is only part of the battle. In essence, higher potassium than sodium intake can help regulate our blood pressure more efficiently (2). It’s all about balance. The recommended daily intake for healthy adults is 2,300mg for sodium (3) and 4, 700mg for potassium(4). It’s thought that only 2% of Americans get enough of this vital mineral in their diets (5). All the more reason to eat more potassium-rich whole foods!

As if you needed an excuse to eat these juicy treats! Try to eat one a day with your breakfast or after a meal as dessert.

Fish oil

Forget unhealthy oils you find in a deep fryer, fish oil is where it’s at! Fish oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have all kinds of health benefits. Some benefits include reducing inflammation and even improved memory.

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Providing, you enjoy eating fish; this is a no-brainer – simply add some sardines, wild Alaskan salmon or herring to your meals. If you really don’t like fish, try adding a high-quality fish oil supplement to your diet.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, try adding plant sources of omega 3 to your daily routine. Some of these include flax, chia, walnuts, hemp or pumpkin seeds. Vegan alternatives to fish oil supplements exist as well (6)!

Red grapes and berries

Berries are great for your health as they contain flavonoids (naturally occurring plant pigments). These work as strong antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and may work to help prevent the formation of arterial plaque (7). They also taste great with a full-fat yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Garlic

Garlic is one of the tastiest ways to get healthy! It can reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. To really give a boost to the immune system, try roasting full garlic cloves in the oven with a touch of olive oil and garnish with salt and pepper.

For an even more potent and immediate effect, chop up raw and add to a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad mixed with vinaigrette and olive oil.

Apples and grapefruit

Apple and grapefruit both share high levels of pectin (soluble fiber), which aids the lowering of cholesterol (8).  They are also high in magnesium and potassium, which helps you to control your blood pressure.

Spinach

Spinach is highly nutrient rich and contains Vitamins C, K, and A, as well as iron, calcium, potassium and folic acid. Spinach is also high in dietary nitrates. These help to produce nitric oxide (NO) (9), which in turn helps to regulate our blood pressure – a major key to keeping our arteries clean!

Olive oil

We LOVE olive oil! This yummy oil is full of healthy monounsaturated fat. There is a reason some woman swear by it and even use it as a moisturizer for younger looking skin!

While you don’t want to be drinking the stuff, you can happily use it knowing it is high in oleocanthal (10), a natural anti-oxidant that aid cardiovascular health. Go for the pure extra virgin kind, for the best effects.

Tomatoes

Consume tomatoes regularly and you will reduce your risk of clogged arteries by half. This is because tomatoes are full of plant-based carotenoids, and most notably lycopene; which reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood and prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (11).

That’s pretty awesome. A lot of these foods also go very well together – garlic and tomatoes in a sauce with olive oil, for example. All of these are part of the Mediterranean diet,  could this be the key to the long lives of many Italian Grandmothers?

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Green Tea

Green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. It is known for its health benefits and to aid weight loss. It also helps maintain heart health. Consider reducing your caffeine intake and adding in at least one cup a day.

Pomegranate

Pomegranate has shown in some studies (12), to even prevent the build-up of arterial plaques. It has anti-inflammatory effects, as well as being an anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and naturally lowers blood pressure.

Oats

An easy fix for your breakfast (porridge is particularly yummy!), oats contain a lot of soluble fiber, meaning they also reduce cholesterol levels as well as providing a healthy snack or meal.

A really easy and tasty way to have oats is by making overnight oats. You can check out some of our favorite overnight oats recipes.

Walnuts

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Eating a small helping of walnuts every day will lessen your chances of type II diabetes and helps to maintain your blood pressure (13). You don’t have to just stick to walnut, a daily serving of any nut can help reduce the risk of heart disease (14).

Crushed walnuts are great on top of your breakfast cereal or your favorite salad for that extra crunch!

Turmeric

Curcumin, a powerful compound found in turmeric, helps to improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a significant factor in heart disease as it much more difficult for the endothelium to regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, and other essential processes.

Turmeric is a versatile spice that can be added to grilled dishes, sauces, soups,  and even iced tea!

Conclusion

Keeping good heart health is easy to maintain if you eat the right things, make sure to brush your teeth often, keep your stress levels down, and exercise a little each day.

These changes may be psychologically very challenging. Habits kept for a long time can lead to a self-identification with certain behaviors. However, once conscious of these habits (and the motivation behind them) the choice must be made to change – for the betterment of your health, an increase in enjoyment and of the length of your precious life. A little discomfort in the short terms for a better quality of life in the long term is definitely worth it!

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The Hearty Soul
Health Network
We believe in using natural ingredients to be as healthy as possible. We believe dieting will never work as well as a lifestyle of healthy habits will. We believe you can treat pain and disease without relying on addictive drugs. We believe being happy is a big part of a healthy life.

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