illustration woman holding chest, radiating bulls eye. Heart disease, arterial health, clogged arteries concept
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
February 1, 2024 ·  14 min read

9 Foods You Should Eat Regularly To Support Your Arterial Health

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from your heart to the rest of your body, while their counterparts, the veins, carry blood back to the heart. This is known as our circulatory system, which supplies essential oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to your organs, muscles, and tissue cells. Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease, refers to the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart that could lead to a heart attack, heart failure, or even more severe, death. Heart disease is the 2nd leading cause of death in Canada, at 17.7% (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2022) after cancer, with 26.6% deaths in 2021, and it’s the leading cause of death in the US, as per the CDC.

Heart disease affects men and women differently.

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  • Men are twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack than women are. 
  • Also, statistics show that men are also diagnosed with heart disease about ten years younger than women. (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2022).

Heart disease – Symptoms and causes

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The principal behavioral risk factors of heart disease are dietary deficiency, a sedentary lifestyle, tobacco smoking, and excessive alcohol. This can translate into higher risk factors in individuals, such as elevated blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, overweight or obesity, and stress. Those that cannot be controlled (conventional) are age (as we get older, the risk factor increases), gender (men are generally at greater risk), genetics – family history and race (Hajar, 2017). 

What causes plaque build-up?

human anatomy
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Atherosclerosis is defined as the thickening or hardening of the arteries, causing plaque buildup in the inner lining of an artery. Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels can increase the rate of plaque buildup (Lusis, 2000a).

Can you reverse plaque build-up in your arteries? 

Atherosclerosis of blood vessels. Cholesterol in the arteries. Thrombosis treatment.
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Although reverse atherosclerosis isn’t possible once it starts, there are things you can do to help fix the current situation. People can make fundamental lifestyle changes to slow or prevent more of it from accumulating and improve their heart health. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in omega-3 fats in cold-water fish, vegetables, and some low-glycemic fruits. They participated in regular exercise activities daily for at least 30 to 60 minutes. In severe cases, medical procedures or surgery can help relieve blockages within the arteries. Your healthcare provider can also prescribe medication, such as cholesterol-reducing drugs (statins) and ingesting an aspirin tablet daily as a preventative. This high risk of recurrent events is the result of the significant burden of atherosclerotic plaque, which, even if stabilized following statin therapy, may erode and result in acute coronary syndrome (Quillard et al., 2017).

Read More: 8 Surprising Signs of Heart Valve Disease

9 Foods that support arterial health

3d Illustration of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Blood Clots. Embolism.
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A study done in 2019 by the Global Burden of Disease concluded that diet-related risk factors represent the second risk factor for cardiovascular disease mortality in both men and women (Murray et al., 2020). Research supports that a diet rich in specific foods can help clear arteries naturally. However, being proactive in consuming a healthy diet is essential to reduce the chance of accumulating plaque building up in the first place. Consuming a diet that emphasizes fish, fruits – berries, vegetables – cruciferous, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, beverages – green tea, beet juice, and plant oils like avocado, with limited consumption of meat and meat products is suggested (DASH Eating Plan, 2020).  Here is a list of 9 foods that can help manage and support arterial health:  

1. Cruciferous Vegetables

Spring vitamin set of various green leafy vegetables on rustic wooden table. Top view point.

The (Zhang et al., 2011) study included 134,796 Chinese adults who participated in 2 studies that evaluated the participants’ daily intake of vegetative, specific cruciferous vegetables. Their findings support recommendations to increase consumption of vegetable groups including mainly cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, cabbage, napa cabbage, cauliflower, and turnip), green leafy vegetables (bok choy and spinach), allium vegetables (garlic, garlic sprouts, onions, green onions, and Chinese chives), and legumes (soybeans, peas, broad beans, Chinese long beans, green beans, hyacinth beans, and snow peas), particularly cruciferous vegetables promote cardiovascular health and overall longevity.

2. Beans and Legumes

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The legume family (Leguminose) is made up of three subgroups: oilseed legumes (soybeans and peanuts), fresh legumes (beans and peas), and pulses, which are the dried seeds of legumes (chickpeas and lentils) (Mullins & Arjmandi, 2021). Legumes and beans are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which will help improve the biological system of cardiometabolic risk factors, including lowering blood levels and controlling glycemic and blood pressure. They may have other heart-health benefits, such as decreasing heart disease risk (Bouchenak & Lamri-Senhadji, 2013). 

3. Omega-3 Fats 

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Studies have shown some dietary omega-3 fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, and sardines, play an essential role in stabilizing atherosclerosis and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events (DiNicolantonio et al., 2014). 

4. Berries

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Research shows that berries, especially blackberries, and raspberries, contain high fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds packed with flavonoid antioxidants that can significantly reduce atherosclerosis risk factors. Strawberries, cranberries, and blackberries can reduce inflammation and improve heart health (Kalt et al., 2020). 

5. Citrus fruits

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Flavonoids in citrus fruit have been popularized because of their unique and enhanced therapeutic properties against chronic diseases, particularly atherosclerosis. Oxidized LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is associated with atherosclerosis development and progression. Citrus fruits have particular antioxidant properties that may protect cells against oxidative damage. Consuming citrus flavonoids frequently may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (Huxley & Neil, 2003) (Pontifex et al., 2021).

Read More: How to Eat to Reduce Cancer Risk

6. Beetroot

Fresh organic beet, beetroot. Grey rustic wooden background. Close up.
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Beet juice increases nitric oxide levels, and a moderate dose of nitrate can increase blood flow and may be effective and safe for reducing blood pressure while reducing arterial stiffness (Pekas et al., 2021) (Jackson et al., 2019). However, an earlier study by (Oggioni et al., 2017), which took 20 healthy, non-obese older subjects focused on arterial stiffness consumption of beet juice, concluded that it did not find any significant improvement. A conclusion is that beetroot is best for the acute stage, with no significant benefit for chronic conditions. 

7. Oats

A glass of oat milk, a jug and oat flakes. The concept of alternative lactose-free dairy products. Copy space.
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A study conducted in 2019 that included 716 participants diagnosed with coronary artery disease who consumed oat fiber frequently showed lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels than individuals who did not eat oat fiber. Oats have particular antioxidants, called avenanthramides, which inhibit inflammatory proteins called cytokines that may help reduce atherosclerosis risk factors by lowering elevated total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (Paudel et al., 2021). 

 8. Flaxseed

Brown flaxseed, organic food for healthy eating.
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Flaxseed contains many essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which may provide significant health benefits to support and prevent diseases. Early research studies suggest that alpha-linolenic acid might benefit people with heart disease and help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which play a role in heart disease (van den Driessche et al., 2018) (Rodriguez-Leyva et al., 2010).

 9. Avocados

lots of green fresh avocados in a box on the counter in the store,
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Higher avocado intake might mitigate the risk of coronary heart disease due to its rich source of monounsaturated fats and fiber, which have been shown to help lower LDL (bad) and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Studies have also determined that replacing unhealthy fat sources with avocado fats positively lowers total cholesterol, LDL (bad), and triglycerides (Peou et al., 2016) (Pacheco et al., 2022).

Read More: 15 Signs You Have a Magnesium Deficiency & The Foods You Need to Eat

Which atherogenic foods should be avoided? 

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Foods that you should try to avoid are usually foods high in saturated fat – such as beef liver, fried fast food, caged hens, egg yolks, and butter – often associated with foods that elevate blood LDL (bad) levels and are considered atherogenic. When we look at different types of meats, new evidence differentiates processed and red meat—both associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, while poultry shows a neutral relationship with cardiovascular disease for moderate intake. As a part of a healthy diet aimed at reducing cardiovascular health risks, it is reasonable to minimize your intake of processed meats, refined carbohydrates, and sweetened beverages to reduce any health risks, while trans fats should be avoided. Poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle increase your risk factors, which influence the onset of atherosclerosis (Riccardi et al., 2021) (Sikand & Severson, 2020).  

Supplements for heart disease prevention and treatment

Woman hands holding glass of water, vitamins and supplements. B12, D3, selenium. Vitamins for vegans.
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The scientific community has always had an underlying question regarding whether individuals without deficiencies in vitamins or minerals would benefit from supplements. The citation has been the subject of innumerable investigations. The US Preventive Services Task Force’s position on using nutrition supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease suggests insufficient evidence to support the use of the supplements. However, several scientific associations suggest obtaining vitamins and minerals from your diet is optimum (“Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrient Supplementation,” 2009) (“National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement: Multivitamin/mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Prevention,” 2007).

Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals

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to prevent cystitis and urinary tract infections
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Micronutrients such as selenium, zinc, copper, and manganese minerals are essential to the enzymatic system in reducing oxygen-free radicals. A deficient intake of these minerals can result in several diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Likewise, vitamins such as A, C, E, and beta-carotene function as antioxidants by interacting with free radicals and preventing oxidative damage to macromolecules such as LDL (bad) cholesterol. Lipid peroxidation of LDL increases its atherogenicity; thus, these vitamins can potentially reduce cardiovascular disease risk (“Antioxidant Nutrients and Disease Prevention: An Overview,” 1991) (Frei, 1994) (Fortmann et al., 2013). 

5 Supplements that may help contribute to arterial health

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1. Natural Factors Mixed vitamin E, 180 Softgels

Vitamin E is primarily known for its powerful antioxidant benefits. It helps to protect cell membranes against damage caused by free radicals and prevents the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis development, inhibiting the average circulation of oxygenated blood to the tissues. Vitamin E is also necessary for the structural and functional maintenance of cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscles.

2. Natural Factors vitamin A 10,000 IU, 180 Softgel

Gone are the days of suffering through a spoonful of cod liver oil to get your daily vitamin A! We’ve encapsulated cod liver oil in a convenient soft gel. Hence, you bring all the eye, skin, bone, teeth, and immune-system support benefits without the fishy aftertaste. It’s been tested for up to 800 contaminants, so you get all the good with none of the bad. Consult your healthcare practitioner before taking a vitamin A supplement. Vitamin A supplements should also be avoided by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Naka’s Organic Delayed Release vitamin C from Raw Camu has been formulated to provide 500mg of natural source vitamin C as a minimum per capsule. Naka’s Organic Camu powder is sourced from the drying, milling, and sieving of the organic Camu fruit from the Peruvian rainforest. Organic Delayed, Release vitamin C from Raw Camu is 100% corn-free and comes in a delayed-release vegan capsule to support a healthy immune system, brain, and heart throughout the day.

4. Natural Factors SelenoExcell Selenium 200 mcg, 90 caps

Natural Factors Seleno Excell Selenium is the organically bound high selenium yeast that provides increased bioavailability for the human body. Selenium is a mineral supplement for maintaining healthy body cells and good health. It is a vital antioxidant whose principal function is to inhibit the oxidation of fats in the body.

5. NOW L-OptiZinc® Monomethionine 30 mg, 100 Caps

Zinc is a mineral co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions related to protein and carbohydrate metabolism, RNA/DNA synthesis, and intercellular signaling. Zinc is essential to the normal function of many organs and systems within the body, supporting healthy immune, skeletal, neurological, and endocrine functions. L-OptiZinc® is a form of Zinc complexed with the amino acid Methionine. Research has demonstrated this product to be better absorbed and retained longer than several other Zinc tested forms. High zinc intake may lead to a lowering of copper stores in the body. Therefore, this formula is balanced with a small amount of copper to prevent declining levels.


Group of people holding a pink heart icon
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Although it is challenging to identify the root cause of atherosclerosis, we know an inactive lifestyle, poor diet, and stress are all attributed to poor arterial health. Consuming plenty of fibre in the form of cruciferous vegetables, flaxseed, oats, beans, legume, berries, citrus fruit, beetroot, and healthy fats such as omega-3 fish, lean meats, including poultry, can contribute to a preventative game plan for arterial health. Reducing foods that contain trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol may also contribute to arterial health. 

Consuming foods high in selenium, zinc, copper, and manganese micronutrients and vitamins, including A, C, E, and beta-carotene, which all provide the body with antioxidants, may also decrease atherosclerosis, which is directly correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. Always speak with your healthcare practitioner before using any new supplements.

Read More: Heart Disease: 10 Warning Signs that Appear On Your Skin


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    Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.