We all know that a strong heart is essential to our overall health. However, arteries can clog up due to plaque and inflammation which in turn causes high blood pressure and increases the potential for serious cardiovascular problems. To help we will give you the top 20 foods that can effectively remove blockages in your arteries and help you maintain a healthy heart.
According to researchers in The Netherlands, people who drank more than two, but no more than four, cups of coffee a day for 13 years had about a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than people who drank more or less coffee or no coffee at all. Moderation is the key to coffee’s heart-health benefits.
2. Chia Seeds
High in fiber and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), chia seeds are able to lower blood pressure, triglycerides (fat), and cholesterol, all of which are essential if you want to have healthy arteries.
This fruit is loaded with monounsaturated fats, also known as “good fats” that can help minimize blood cholesterol and blood clots. They also contain potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and magnesium, which has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease in men.
Watermelons contain essential amino acids which help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in your arteries. Watermelons can also produce nitric oxide which helps widen the blood vessels that would sometimes narrow due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Pomegranates contain tons of fiber that shuttle cholesterol out of the blood and reduces plaque buildup, plus antioxidants that protect your arteries from damage. Studies also show this fruit triggers the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps to keep your blood flowing and your arteries open.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in catechins, compounds that have been shown to decrease cholesterol absorption in your body. Sipping two cups of tea every day can be beneficial.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is needed for bone formation and helps to keep calcium from damaging the arteries. This vegetable is also full of fiber which helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Remember not to overcook broccoli however or you’ll lose most of those fantastic nutrients.
8. Red Wine
Resveratrol and catechins, two antioxidants in red wine, can protect the heart by raising “good” HDL cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and preventing clots that can cause heart attack and stroke. However, remember not to have more than one drink a day for women or two drinks for men.
This superfood contains vitamin K, which can help with blood clotting, and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. It is also rich in soluble fiber and saponins, two nutrients that help lower blood cholesterol.
Just one teaspoon a day of antioxidant-rich cinnamon can help reduce fats in the bloodstream, prevent plaque build up in the arteries and lower bad cholesterol levels by as much as 26 percent.
11. Orange Juice
This citrus fruit is packed with a flavanoid that lowers blood pressure and reduces artery inflammation. Citrus also contains hesperidin, a plant chemical that improves blood flow to the heart, and vitamin C, a potent protector against stroke.
It’s totally worth the vampire-repelling breath! Not only does garlic add a kick of flavor to any dish, but it also helps boost immunity, suppress infections, reduce arterial plaque buildup, prevent blood clots, lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.
Slivered almonds go well with vegetables, fish, chicken, and desserts. Almonds are loaded with vitamin E and fiber, both of which help promote good cardiovascular health and good blood flow.
14. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel are the superstars of heart-healthy foods because they contain copious amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that help lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries). The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week.
Forget the old 'an apple a day' adage—it seems eating a daily persimmon is a better way to keep the doctor away. Research shows this fruit has twice as much fiber and more antioxidants than an apple that can help decrease levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
16. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, both of which are great for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Studies show a 41% reduction in the likelihood of stroke when using olive oil daily when compared to non-users.
Cranberries have been shown to reduce the overall risk of heart disease by a whopping 40% since this berry is rich in antioxidants and helps balance cholesterol to healthy LDL/HDL levels.
The spice turmeric contains curcumin which lowers inflammation - a major cause of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). A little turmeric in your cooking can help reduce fatty deposits in your arteries and protect your heart.
A daily 4,500mg dose of these blue-green algae (usually found in supplement or powder form) can help relax artery walls and normalize blood pressure. It may also help decrease your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 10 percent and raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) by 15 percent.
20. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that protects against blood coagulation and reduces the risk of heart disease. It also helps balance cholesterol and prevents arterial plaque from building up. The equivalent of 15 - 30ml per day is enough to help transform the cholesterol in your blood into a form that can be used and processed by your system more easily.