A healthy cardiovascular system is the key to a healthy body and life. However, at the present times, due the increased stress in our daily life coupled with the sedentary lifestyle and food habit a majority of the population is suffering from heart ailments. Serious heart problems now have become common even amongst people below 40 years of age. Clogging of arteries has been pointed out as one of the most common reasons of cardiovascular ailments and our food habits has a major role to play in it.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, where you spend most of the time of the day sitting on a chair, it is really important to include regular cardio vascular exercise sin your daily routine along with proper foods in your daily diet. We cannot really neglect the importance of regular physical exercise to keep the heart healthy, but in this article we will be primarily focusing on the foods that can be most helpful to avoid clogging of the heart arteries.
How heart arteries get clogged?
Before we start with the list of the “cardiovascular system friendly” foods, first let us take a quick look at how the heart arteries get clogged. Cholesterol is the culprit here. When the amount of bad cholesterol is high in the blood, they are deposited in the arteries. Cholesterol deposition is the primary cause of narrowing and subsequently clogging of the heart arteries. As the cholesterol deposition starts narrowing the arteries, automatically the natural flexibility of the arteries is reduced extensively, which in turn increases the blood pressure. As the deposition of cholesterol on the artery walls continues, over time the arteries are completely or partially blocked with cholesterol deposition.
Foods that help in clearing heart artery clogs
You already knew it. Vegetables are the best to include in your daily diet if you have high cholesterol levels or if high blood pressure runs in your family. Vegetables are not only loaded with vital vitamins and minerals that help the natural detoxification process of the body, but they are also the richest source of dietary fibers that are known to absorb the bad cholesterol and expel it with feces.
Vegetables like Asparagus are high in Vitamin B6 which helps in reducing the amount of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine has long been linked with heart ailments and hence reduced levels of homocysteine in the body can naturally boost your cardiovascular health. These vegetables also reduce C-reactive protein in the body, which is often the cause behind arterial inflammation that might lead to artery clogging.
Broccoli is the other vegetable that should be included in your diet if you are concerned about your heart health. Broccoli is loaded with vitamin K which prevents calcification of the arteries. The vitamins and antioxidants of broccoli also help in reducing LDL cholesterol oxidation.
Colorful vegetables like tomatoes, bell pepper and carrots are rich in anti-oxidants that help in preserving overall artery and heart health. So including more of vegetables, green as well as colorful, in your daily diet is one of the most effective and easiest steps you can take to avoid clogging of heart arteries.
Instead of including the various colorful leaves under the“vegetables” heading, we decided to put them up under a separate sub-head just to highlight their importance in heart health. Leafy vegetables are the source of maximum dietary fiber which helps in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood and hence the percentage of good cholesterol is increased, which stops deposition of bad cholesterol in the arteries providing cleansing effects on the arterial system.
Leafy vegetables are also rich in a number of vitamins and minerals. While these vitamins and minerals ensure better heart and artery health, they also take active role in reducing the compounds related with arterial inflammation.
The potassium and folate present in spinach along with the fiber, makes it one of the best foods to avoid clogging of heart arteries. The recent researches have mentioned that just a single serving of folate rich green leaves like Spinach can successively reduce the levels of homocysteine in blood, which works as a major risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Kale and Lettuce
Kale and lettuce also have similar benefits on the artery health. These leafy vegetables are rich in nitrates which produces nitric oxide in the body after digestion. This gas resists formation of plaque in the arteries. It also prevents blood coagulation in the arteries. So, including more of these leafy vegetables in your daily diet can certainly reduce the risk of clogging of the heart arteries.
Just like vegetables, fresh fruits are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and dietary fibers all of which are vital for better cardiovascular health. Different nutrients of fruits help in lowering the blood cholesterol levels and also ensure better artery health due to their high anti-oxidant content. Fresh fruits that can be your best friend to avoid clogging of heart arteries include,
Oranges are one of the top fruits for artery health. Pectin present in oranges helps in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood which results into increased amount of good cholesterol promoting better artery health. Oranges are loaded with Vitamin C, which works as an effective anti-oxidant and helps in strengthening the walls of the arteries.
The other super fruit for cardiovascular health is pomegranate. This iron rich fruit not only promotes blood formation in the body but also the high amount of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients present in it prevents oxidative damage to the arteries. Certain compounds of pomegranate also trigger the production of nitric oxide, which expands the walls of the arteries and improves blood flow thus preventing formation of clogs.
Watermelon has an overall detoxifying effect on the body. Different amino acids available in this fruit help in reducing blood pressure. Apart from that, this fruit also contains nitric oxide which helps in broadening of the arteries and promotes better blood flow.
Apples are helpful to avoid artery clogging because of their pectin and other anti-oxidant content. While pectin helps in absorbing bad cholesterol from the blood and removes it from the body through excretion, the anti-oxidants present in apple promotes better artery health and prevents artery clogging.
Many of us do not even have the idea that some of the common Indian spices have maximum ability to sustain a better cardiovascular health. Some of the spices that can be most beneficial to avoid clogging of heart arteries include,
Curcumin is the compound which makes turmeric heart friendly. Curcumin helps in reducing the bad cholesterol in the body and also reduces triglyceride. Turmeric is also loaded with anti-oxidants that prevent oxidative damage to the arteries. The anti-inflammatory action of turmeric reduces the risk of artery clogging.
Cinnamon is the other common spice that can be most helpful to prevent clogging of heart arteries. Cinnamon has been found to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and thus reducing the risk of artery clogging to a great extent. It also improves blood flow in the body.
Amongst the herbs, garlic and ginger both are known for being heart friendly. Garlic has high allium content which helps in lowering blood cholesterol and promotes better artery health; ginger on the other hand has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help in preventing arterial inflammation, a major cause of arterial blockage.
If you are concerned about your heart health, it is high time that you say buy to the refined flour andand shift to whole grain products. A variety of whole grains including wheat, jowar, barley, ragi, bajra are available in India and these whole grains are most effective in absorbing bad cholesterol from the blood. Including more of whole grains in your daily diet instead of the refined grains can actually be a positive step towards healthy cardiovascular health.
Olive oil is the other thing that can help you to avoid clogging of heart arteries. Olive oil is rich in mono-saturated fatty acid that can reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. It also helps in reducing oxidative stress and can alleviate the risk of cardiovascular ailments to a great extent. Olive oil is a rich source of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that has a great impact in maintaining balanced cholesterol levels in the body. Using olive oil for regular cooking or consuming olive oil with salads can be a good option to get the heart friendly benefits of it.
Flax seeds are the simple food ingredients that can give you lots of benefits when it comes to cardiovascular health. Flax seeds are naturally rich in alpha linolenic acid and can be most helpful to reduce inflammation of the arteries. The health friendly fatty acids of these seeds help in maintaining balanced cholesterol levels in the body and the dietary fibers of these seeds help in absorbing the bad cholesterol from the blood.
Apart from flax seeds, you can also include chia seeds in your regular diet to avoid clogging of heart arteries. Chia seeds directly help in keeping the arteries clear of clogging by reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol in blood.
Peanuts, almonds, pistachios or walnuts, nuts in every form are great for heart and artery health. They are not only highly nutritious for the body but come packed with a number of essential vitamins and minerals that can promote better cardiovascular health. Nuts contain high amount of mono-saturated fats that reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood, as well as vitamin E and fiber all of which promotes better cardiovascular health. Some of the minerals of nuts also help in reducing arterial inflammation thus helping you to avoid arterial clogging.
The only source of animal protein that is good even for your heart health is fatty fishes. Fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, halibut come loaded with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids help in reducing bad cholesterol in blood and promote overall artery health. They prevent clogging of arteries and promote better blood flow in the body.