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What Foods Clear Clogged Arteries?

What Foods Clear Clogged Arteries? What Foods Clear Clogged Arteries?

Clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, is a condition caused by damage to the lining of the blood vessels. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes or reduced blood supply to the extremities, causing difficulty walking or gangrene. Atherosclerosis can be caused by elevated blood cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and circulating inflammatory compounds in the blood, often the result of poor diet. Research from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, founded by Dean Ornish, MD, has shown that lifestyle changes can help reverse even severe atherosclerosis.

Vegetables and Fruits

A low-fat vegetarian diet is the principal diet promoted by Dr. Ornish, a pioneer in the field of heart disease prevention and reversal. Going completely vegetarian may be too extreme for some, but additional servings of vegetables can benefit everyone, as most Americans fall far short of the recommended 2 to 3 cups per day. Vegetables and fruits provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as a wide array of antioxidants that can help neutralize inflammatory compounds that lead to atherosclerosis.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes--including black beans, pinto beans, lentils and black-eyed peas--are high in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol in the blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. They also are a good source of protein, so using them in place of part or all of the meat at a meal results in a lower intake of artery-clogging saturated fat.

Pomegranate Juice and Other Beverages

Pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce blood vessel damage, likely due to its high antioxidant content, according to research at the Ramban Medical Center in Israel. Other beverages high in antioxidants that may protect arteries include red wine, purple grape juice and black tea. Fruit juices and wine should both be consumed in moderation due to the high calorie content of juices and risks of overconsumption of alcohol.

Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon, herring, trout, sardines, albacore tuna and mackerel, have an anti-atherosclerotic effect, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA recommends two servings of fatty fish per week.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as rolled oats, whole wheat breads or pastas and brown rice have a positive effect on clogged arteries due to their high fiber content, which helps the body eliminate cholesterol. Researchers Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto report that higher intakes of whole grains are associated with less harmful inflammation in the blood.

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