15 Foods That May Help Prevent Clogged Arteries/Heart Blockage By Aminat Umar ๐ŸŽŠ The Scoper Media

Eating certain foods may help prevent clogged arteries and lower your risk of heart disease. Some examples include berries, beans, tomatoes, fish, oats, and leafy greens.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS occurs when fatty deposits accumulate along artery walls. You may have heard this condition referred to as clogged arteries or hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis causes the arteries to narrow and restricts blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body.

Foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other beneficial compounds may help prevent plaque from forming in your arteries. These foods may include:

Here are 15 foods that may help prevent clogged arteries.

1. BERRIES


Berries include:

These fruits are associated with numerous health benefits, including their ability to reduce inflammation and improve heart health.

blueberries
strawberries
cranberries
raspberries
blackberries
Berries contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. These include flavonoid antioxidants, including polyphenols, which may support heart health (1Trusted Source).

Research has also shown that eating berries significantly reduces atherosclerosis risk factors, including (2Trusted Source):

elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol
blood pressure
blood sugar levels
Berries may help prevent clogged arteries by reducing inflammation and cholesterol accumulation, improving artery function, and protecting against cellular damage

2. BEANS


Beans are packed with fiber, and eating fiber-rich foods like beans is essential for preventing atherosclerosis (4Trusted Source).

Eating beans is an excellent way to manage cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of clogged arteries. Many studies have demonstrated that eating beans can significantly reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (5Trusted Source).

Beans offer various cardioprotective effects, including

reducing blood pressure
reducing blood triglyceride levels
lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels
reducing inflammation
improving artery function
The same review notes that bean-rich diets can also improve:
insulin sensitivity
body weight and waist circumference
colon health
gut microbiome diversity
All of these effects may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

3. FISH


Eating omega-3-rich fish may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, though researchers have not yet definitively determined why.

The body can metabolize omega-3 fatty acids into bioactive lipid mediators, which may reduce inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can contribute to clogged arteries (7Trusted Source).

Another review of research notes that eating fish may

reduce triglycerides
lower heart rate and blood pressure
improve the pumping of oxygen-rich blood to your organs
reduce inflammation
reduce the risk of blood clots

4. TOMATOES AND TOMATO PRODUCTS


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Tomatoes and tomato products contain plant compounds that may be particularly helpful for reducing the development of atherosclerosis.

Tomatoes contain the carotenoid pigment lycopene. Studies show that consuming lycopene-rich tomato products may help (9Trusted Source):

reduce inflammation
boost HDL (good) cholesterol
reduce the risk of heart disease
Combining cooked tomato with olive oil may offer the greatest protection against clogged arteries (10Trusted Source).

5. ONIONS


Onions are part of the Allium genus and are linked to health benefits, including supporting artery health. Research has shown that a diet rich in these popular veggies may protect the arteries.

A 15-year study that followed 1,226 women ages 70 and older found that a higher intake of Allium vegetables like onions was associated with a lower risk of death related to disease caused by atherosclerosis (11Trusted Source).

Onions contain sulfur compounds that scientists think may help prevent blood vessel inflammation, inhibit the clumping together of platelets in the blood, and increase the availability of nitric oxide (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

All of these effects may help protect against atherosclerosis and improve artery health.

6. CITRUS FRUITS


Citrus fruits are delicious and provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including flavonoids.

Citrus flavonoids can decrease inflammation and help prevent free radicals in the body from oxidizing LDL (bad) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL is associated with atherosclerosis development and progression (13Trusted Source).

This may be why citrus consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke โ€” two conditions linked to atherosclerosis (14Trusted Source).

7. SPICES


Spices, including ginger, pepper, chili, and cinnamon, may help protect against clogged arteries (15Trusted Source).

These and other spices have anti-inflammatory properties and may help (15Trusted Source):

reduce free radicals
improve blood lipid levels
reduce the clumping together of platelets in the blood
You can increase your spice consumption by adding these versatile flavorings to oatmeal, soups, stews, and just about any other dish you can think of.

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8. FLAX SEEDS
Flax seeds are high in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium and magnesium. In addition to being highly nutritious, flax seeds may help prevent atherosclerosis.

Flax seeds contain secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), an anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering lignan compound whose properties counter atherosclerosis and may protect against heart attack and stroke (16Trusted Source, 17).

You have to grind flax seeds or purchase them pre-ground to digest them and take advantage of their benefits.

9. CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES


Johnny Autry/Offset Images
Adding cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to your diet may help reduce your chances of developing clogged arteries.

Studies show that eating cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of atherosclerosis.

A study of 1,500 females found that eating cruciferous vegetables was associated with lower carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) (18Trusted Source).

This measurement can help assess a personโ€™s risk of atherosclerosis-related disease.

Research has also linked cruciferous vegetable intake to reduced arterial calcification and risk of death caused by atherosclerosis-related disease (11Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

Arterial calcification leads to the hardening of the arteries in atherosclerosis (20Trusted Source).

10. BEETS


Beets are a rich source of nitrates, which your body converts to nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that plays many essential roles in your body.

Inflammation in the blood vessels leads to decreased nitric oxide production.

Eating foods like beets that are rich in dietary nitrates may help improve blood vessel function and decrease inflammation, which may help prevent atherosclerosis (21Trusted Source).

Research has also found an association between dietary nitrate intake and a reduced risk of atherosclerosis-related death (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).

11. OATS


Eating oats can help significantly reduce atherosclerosis risk factors, including high total and LDL (bad) cholesterol (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).

Oats also contain antioxidants called avenanthramides, which may help inhibit inflammatory proteins called cytokines and adhesion molecules. This may help prevent atherosclerosis (24Trusted Source).

Consuming oat bran, which is packed with fiber, may also be helpful.

A study that included 716 people with coronary artery disease found that those who consumed oat fiber regularly had lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and inflammatory markers than those who did not eat oat fiber (25Trusted Source).

The study also found that oat fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of needing revascularization โ€” a procedure to increase oxygen delivery to the heart and other parts of the body. A person may need this if atherosclerosis has impeded their blood flow (25Trusted Source).

12. NUTS AND SEEDS


Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Whatโ€™s more, these tiny and versatile foods may help prevent clogged arteries.

Eating nuts and seeds can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and may help boost HDL (good) cholesterol and lower systolic blood pressure (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).

Research also suggests eating nuts and seeds reduces blood sugar levels and may help protect against diabetes, a known risk factor for atherosclerosis (26Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).

Eating nuts and seeds may also help improve blood vessel function and protect against heart disease (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).

13. LEAFY GREENS


Ryan Miller/ Offset Images
Leafy greens, including lettuces, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and spinach, offer nutrients that may help protect against atherosclerosis.

Green leafy vegetables are a good source of dietary nitrates, which can help improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation (31Trusted Source).

Theyโ€™re also packed with potassium. This mineral helps prevent vascular calcification, a process that contributes to atherosclerosis (32Trusted Source).

Numerous studies have shown that eating green leafy vegetables can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

A review by the American Heart Association found that eating one serving of green leafy vegetables daily was linked to a 12-18% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke (33Trusted Source).

14. COCOA AND DARK CHOCOLATE


Cocoa and dark chocolate products are delicious and may help ward off atherosclerosis.

A review of research suggests that eating chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes (34Trusted Source).

Cocoa and dark chocolate products are rich in polyphenol plant compounds. These help increase nitric oxide production and decrease inflammation in the arteries, which may help improve physical function in people with atherosclerosis (35Trusted Source).

But chocolate can also contain fats and sugar, which may counteract some of its beneficial compounds. It may be best to choose dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa to take advantage of its benefits and consume the recommended amount of one to two ounces (35Trusted Source).

15. OLIVE OIL


Olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet, may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Olive oil may significantly improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammatory markers, which can reduce your risk of heart disease (36Trusted Source).

A 2018 review also concluded that olive oil consumption is associated with reduced atherosclerosis-related inflammatory markers and a decreased risk of heart disease and complications (37Trusted Source).

Researchers attribute olive oilโ€™s ability to increase heart and blood vessel health to its high content of polyphenol compounds.

Remember that less refined extra virgin olive oil has significantly greater amounts of polyphenols than more refined olive oils (37Trusted Source, 38, 39Trusted Source).

How arteries can become clogged
Atherosclerosis is considered a major underlying cause of heart disease, including coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease in the United States (40Trusted Source).

Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of about 50% of deaths in Western countries (41Trusted Source).

Itโ€™s a chronic inflammatory disease with numerous risk factors.

Youโ€™re more likely to develop atherosclerosis if you (41Trusted Source):

have high LDL (bad) cholesterol
have high blood pressure
smoke cigarettes
have diabetes
have a family history of atherosclerosis
have obesity
consume a poor diet
engage in a sedentary lifestyle
On the other hand, following a diet rich in certain foods like vegetables, fruits, and fish has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease (42Trusted Source).

The bottom line
A healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense foods may help reduce your risk of developing clogged arteries.

Adding foods like cruciferous vegetables, fish, berries, olive oil, oats, onions, greens, and beans to your diet may be an effective way to prevent atherosclerosis.

All of the foods listed above offer many other benefits as well. Adding them to your daily routine may significantly decrease your disease risk and boost your overall health

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