The arteries and blood vessels are extremely important when it comes to supporting overall health, as they carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
The problem is that when you eat the wrong foods for many years, the arteries can start to become inflamed.
The inside walls (endothelium) then start to become clogged up with cholesterol, scar tissue, and calcium plaque which blocks the normal blood flow.
Clogged arteries are also known as atherosclerosis and are responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the US alone.
Fortunately for us, there are certain foods that can help clean out the arteries, in order to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
In today’s article, we will be exploring 10 of the best foods in the world to help clean plaque out of the arteries and heal the artery walls.
1. Olive Oil.
Olive oil is often used in Mediterranean cooking and is well known for its healing effects on the body. The extra virgin variety of this oil contains some powerful polyphenols such as oleuropein which have been shown to relax the arteries allowing for better blood flow.
Eating this on a regular basis can also help to reduce inflammation within the artery walls in order to help the body get rid of cholesterol plaque.
Cut out inflammatory vegetable oils like margarine, canola, cottonseed, corn, or soy oil and replace them with extra virgin olive oil, you will soon start to notice improvements in your health.
2. Bell Peppers.
Did you know that one of the main causes of arterial plaque is a deficiency of Vitamin C?
The inner walls of the arteries are made up of collagen which should be soft and elastic so that the blood can flow freely.
Vitamin C is needed to keep this endothelial layer of cells healthy. So if you’re not getting enough from your foods, the arteries become stiff, inflamed, and scarred.
Eating 1 raw bell pepper per day is enough to meet your daily requirements for Vitamin C, which helps both protect and heal the arteries from oxidative damage.
It’s important that you eat these raw, however, as Vitamin C is sensitive to heat and can break down when cooking.
Before the arteries get clogged up with cholesterol and calcium plaque, they first become damaged and inflamed as a result of eating the wrong foods.
For example, sugar, white flour, and vegetable oils all create pockets of damage in the arteries. The body patches up these holes with a plaque made of calcium and cholesterol.
So instead of just tackling the plaque itself, why not try to stop the damage in the first place?
Start eating wild-caught salmon 3 times per week. It’s one of the healthiest sources of omega-3 fats which bring down inflammation in the artery walls.
DHA and EPA in salmon help reduce triglycerides (fat in the blood) help to prevent plaquing (arteriosclerosis) and help to maintain a normal heartbeat.
I also recommend sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and virgin cod liver oil if you want to load up on omega-3s.
Garlic is considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet for treating diseases and infections.
Eating this regularly can help to reduce the risk of a heart attack or a stroke because it works as a natural blood thinner.
Garlic is loaded with nitric oxide, a natural chemical that helps your arteries and blood vessels to relax and expand so that the blood can flow freely.
It also contains a compound called allicin which gives it its pungent smell and flavor. Allicin has been shown to reduce the amount of fat in your blood (triglycerides) so that it becomes less sticky.
All types of tomatoes contain a carotenoid called lycopene, which has been shown in many studies to lower the risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure.
Cooking tomatoes makes lycopene even more powerful at helping to thin out the artery walls and make them less stiff.
Lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient, so if you eat tomatoes with a little fat such as olive oil can help your body absorb it much easier.
I recommend homemade tomato and basil soup with extra virgin olive oil for a very easy artery-healing lunch.
6. Nutritional Yeast.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated healthy yeast made to be used as a food product. This has a cheesy, nutty flavor and is one of the richest sources of B Vitamins in the world, especially Vitamin B1.
You need B vitamins to keep your blood sugars under control, which in turn protects the artery walls from damage.
B1, in particular, helps to lower stress and manage blood pressure, to help prevent a heart attack or a stroke.
7. Chia Seeds.
Did you know that the friendly microbes that live in your body are very important when it comes to protecting your heart?
When you eat foods that contain soluble fiber, the friendly bacteria in your gut start to ferment and eat this food.
This gives them energy, and they start to release butyrate which lowers inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries.
Eating 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds each day is a great way to bulk up on soluble fiber, especially if you soak them first.
Other excellent sources of soluble fiber include basil seeds, psyllium, Konjac fiber, avocados, flax seeds, and Brussels sprouts.
Sauerkraut is hands down of the healthiest foods that you can consume when it comes to supporting a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
It’s a type of fermented cabbage often eaten in Germany and is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C on the planet.
1 cup (142g) of sauerkraut contains an astonishing 700mg of Vitamin C, giving you enough for the entire week in one serving.
And that’s not all, sauerkraut is also packed full of probiotics and fiber which support your friendly microbes that we mentioned in food number 7.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto all contain a unique vitamin called Vitamin K2. This is a very special nutrient that helps to move calcium plaque out of the soft tissues in your arteries and puts it into the bones where it belongs.
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are some of the most powerful fruits on the planet when it comes to arterial health.
These particular fruits are loaded with anthocyanins, quercetin, and other antioxidants. These are natural compounds that reduce inflammation in the artery walls, lower blood pressure, and help reverse insulin resistance.
Like olive oil, avocados are packed full of heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats, which can help prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and clogging up your arteries.
The fat in these helps you absorb more nutrients from salad leaves and vegetables. Avocados are also a rich source of potassium which relaxes the arteries for better blood flow, whilst its Vitamin E content reduces damage in the arteries to promote healing of the tissues.
I recommend using them to make a healthy guacamole dip to use with celery or bottled avocado oil as a cooking ingredient.
Unclogging The Arteries
Now that you’re aware of some of the foods that you can eat to clean the arteries and prevent heart attacks, I want to share a few extra tips on lifestyle changes.
Did you know that simply adding healthy foods to your diet, won’t be enough to clear the plaque from your arteries completely?
You need to start cutting out refined foods like sugar, grains, and flour-based foods like cereals, biscuits, bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, and pancakes.
These all turn into blood sugar which damages the inner lining of the arteries and causes them to become lined with plaque, making them stiff and rigid.
Start switching out these refined foods for more whole foods instead, like wild-caught fatty fish, pasture-raised eggs, healthy fats, and grass-fed beef.
These will make you feel more satisfied and less likely to snack, naturally reducing cravings and inflammation. It’s also recommended to take a daily supplement of 10,000 IU’s Vitamin D3 with 100mcg of Vitamin K2 daily.
Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient that will reduce stiffness and inflammation in your arteries, whilst the K2 helps to mobilize calcium out of the arteries and into the bone.
If you’re under a lot of mental stress, this will stimulate a stress hormone called cortisol which raises your blood pressure and puts a strain on your heart.
Stress is one of the most common causes of heart attacks, so I recommend getting more sleep, taking long walks in nature, and practicing deep breathing daily to help calm down stress hormones if this is your main problem.
These techniques will naturally lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of having a heart attack.