7 Artery Cleansing Foods
Top 7 Foods That Unclog Arteries Naturally
Diet plays an important role in the prevention of heart disease. Many foods have properties that will help to prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries. While there’s no such thing as artery cleansing foods, there are foods that have heart-health benefits.
Check out these top 7 artery cleansing foods to benefit your heart health.
What Factors Lead to Clogged Arteries?
Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of plaque in artery walls.
It can be caused by lifestyle, diet, and/or genetic factors.
Sometimes lifestyle changes can modify your risk for buildup, but other times medication is required to manage your condition.
Oftentimes, a combination of medication and lifestyle changes is recommended.
However, working with a cardiologist is the best way to determine the right approach for you.
According to recent research, there are genetic variants that are associated with coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis (1). These genetic factors have been shown to contribute to plaque buildup – independent of lipid levels.
Lifestyle and Medical Conditions
Modifiable lifestyle factors like smoking and lack of physical activity can contribute to a buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Additionally, medical conditions such as uncontrolled blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are also contributing factors to the development of atherosclerosis.
Eating an unhealthy diet can have a significant effect on the development of atherosclerosis. Keep in mind that once plaque buildup happens in the arteries, diet alone cannot remove that plaque. In other words, there are no foods that clean arteries.
However, diet can play a key role in the prevention of plaque buildup. According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, there are multiple diet recommendations that can aid in the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (2).
- Emphasizing nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains in the diet.
- Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats including mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids.
- Following a lower sodium diet that’s also lower in cholesterol.
- Emphasizing a diet with minimal intake of processed foods, sugar sweetened beverages, and refined carbohydrates.
- Eating a diet that avoids trans fat.
Top 7 Artery Cleansing Foods
Emphasis should be placed on your overall diet pattern when making changes to reduce the risk for atherosclerosis.
This means focusing on eating mostly plants with plenty of unsaturated fatty acids from fish, nuts, and seeds, while also reducing total sodium intake and the intake of highly processed foods and added sugar.
In addition, the following 7 artery cleansing foods can help you keep plaque buildup at bay due to their health-promoting nutrients like soluble fiber and unsaturated fatty acids. Read on to learn more.
As they say, beans are good for your heart! And there is a reason for that. Beans are naturally high in fiber and are very low in cholesterol and sodium.
Studies have shown that eating beans as part of a healthy diet can help with lowering cholesterol (3). Eating as little as one cup of beans per day has been associated with a reduction in total and LDL cholesterol (4).
Try making a meatless meal by replacing meat with your choice of beans or consider subbing beans in place of half of the meat in a dish for a blended meal.
Oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Studies have found that eating oats results in a 5% reduction of total cholesterol and a 10% reduction of LDL cholesterol (5).
Total intake of 3-4 grams per day of beta-glucan from oats is associated with reductions in cholesterol. This is equivalent to approximately 100 grams of dry oats (or less than one ounce) (6, 7).
Try adding oats to a smoothie or mixing into a casserole or baked recipe like lentil meatloaf.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent source of unsaturated fats. It consists mostly of monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat also found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based oils like canola oil.
Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties and has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Some studies have shown a benefit to consuming between 20-30 grams of olive oil per day (8).
For reference, one tablespoon of olive oil is approximately 13 grams.
Try swapping olive oil in place of butter or coconut oil in recipes. You can also use olive oil as a base for salad dressing or to drizzle over a finished dish like broiled fish.
Almonds are a good source of unsaturated fats as well as fiber and protein. Almond consumption has shown to be beneficial to a healthy diet and may improve diet quality.
According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, participants who consumed almonds daily had improvements in their diet quality with greater intakes of fiber, calcium, magnesium, and other essential nutrients (9).
Some studies have also found an association between eating almonds and improved endothelial function (an essential component of cardiovascular health), as well as improvements in inflammatory markers (10, 11).
Try adding almonds to foods like salads, trail mix, or as a part of a snack with a piece of fruit. You can also crush almonds to make a nutty, crunchy coating for baked meat or fish.
Salmon is a fatty fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Diets that regularly incorporate fish have been associated with improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of atherosclerosis (12).
In addition to the fatty acid content of salmon, it also offers other essential nutrients like protein and vitamin D. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings (3 ounces per serving) of fish per week.
Try preparing salmon in new ways to keep it interesting. Think salmon cakes or grilled salmon over salad.
Brussels sprouts aren’t always the top choice for vegetables, but these mini cabbage-like veggies are packed with heart-healthy nutrients.
Not only are they a good source of fiber, but brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient with antioxidant properties.
Brussels sprouts are part of a family of vegetables known as cruciferous vegetables which also includes broccoli and cauliflower.
Eating cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease which is most likely a result of a reduction in inflammation associated with eating a diet with plenty of vegetables (13).
Brussels sprouts are great shaved onto a salad (no cooking required!) and make for a delicious side dish when roasted and seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices.
Eating soy, like tofu, has shown to have heart-health benefits. A study published from the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, found that eating tofu was associated with a reduced risk for coronary heart disease (14).
Tofu is a source of isoflavones, a type of flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (15). Try blending silken tofu into a smoothie or blend into a soup as a thickener.
You can also buy extra firm tofu that’s perfect for stir-fry dishes or baked alongside your favorite vegetables. Be sure to marinate the tofu or add other seasonings since tofu alone has little flavor.
Artery Cleansing Foods Wrap Up
While there is no best food for cleaning arteries (since you cannot cleanse your arteries through diet alone), you can choose to eat a heart-healthy diet that will prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries and reduce your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Experiment with different flavors and foods known to offer heart-health benefits.
If you’re looking for more high fiber foods to aid in the prevention of plaque buildup, download my free high fiber food list or schedule a clarity call with me to help you personalize your diet and start your path to eating a heart-healthy diet by enrolling in my 3 months heart healthy nutrition coaching program.