The arteries are blood vessels that transport oxygen-dense blood from the heart to all organs in the body. A healthy artery is strong, elastic, and flexible. Progressive clogging of the arteries is a condition known as atherosclerosis and is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S, taking over 600,000 lives annually. Given that it doesn’t cause any symptoms, it is very difficult to diagnose.
Symptoms of Clogged Arteries
The symptoms of this condition depend on the type of arteries being impacted.
Carotid arteries: Having clogged arteries in the brain is a condition known as carotid artery disease, which is manifested by symptoms like blurry vision, trouble with speech, unexplained falls, dizziness, severe headaches, confusion, sudden weakness, breathing problems, and loss of balance or coordination.
Coronary arteries: Coronary heart disease is a result of clogged arteries in the heart, which makes the heart muscle unable to get enough blood. It is manifested by symptoms like chest pain, squeezing in the jaw, neck, arms, shoulders, and back, shortness of breath, and heartbeat.
Renal arteries: Chronic kidney disease develops from clogged renal arteries in the kidneys. Early symptoms are rare, but progressive symptoms typically include loss of appetite, concentration problems, numbness, swelling in the feet or hands, tiredness, and nausea.
Peripheral arteries: Peripheral arterial disease develops from plaque buildup in the pelvis, legs, and arms. If blocked or narrowed, these arteries lead do numbness and pain.
What Causes Your Arteries to Get Blocked?
Atherosclerosis is defined as hardening or thickening of the arteries. What allows the blood to keep flowing naturally is the thin layer of endothelial cells. But, there are a few factors that can damage these cells, including free radicals, increased homocysteine levels, platelet cells, and vitamin C deficiency.
Plaque will build up when certain substances are unable to get out of the atherosclerotic lesion. These fats include toxic metals, cellular waste, cholesterol, calcium, and fat.
Although the real cause of clogged arteries remains unclear, mounting evidence suggests that atherosclerosis is a complex condition which might start in childhood and develop as you get older. Factors like type I diabetes, type II diabetes, insulin resistance, smoking, and hypertension are known to be damaging to the arteries.
10 Natural Foods to Unclog Your Arteries
While patients are typically prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs or beta-blockers for this condition, it turns out that there is a way to unclog arteries naturally. Here are a few well-researched foods that can unclog your arteries in an all-natural way:
This popular spice contains curcumin, an ingredient with potent cardioprotective properties. It is believed that turmeric extract helps reduce LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup in the arteries.
According to a 2011 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, turmeric lowers cholesterol levels and suppresses early atherosclerotic lesions even better than lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug.
It has been scientifically shown that garlic helps prevent heart disease, slow down atherosclerosis, and lower blood pressure levels. As shown by a 1999 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, garlic is quite effective in preventing plaque buildup in the arteries.
Another 1999 study has found that garlic lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke by over 50 percent. Ultimately, a 1997 review published in the journal Nutrition found that garlic works great when it comes to both preventing and treating atherosclerosis.
Ginger is known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains gingerols and shogaols, both of which are powerful heart-protective compounds. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Nutrition has found that ginger extract has the ability to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas, LDL aggregation, and LDL-related fat peroxides.
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a substance which reduced LDL cholesterol naturally. It can also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as improve blood circulation. In addition, a 2009 study has found that capsaicin helps prevent vascular and pulmonary complications linked to HAART medications.
Not only lowers cholesterol levels, but lemon also prevents oxidative damage and keeps the arteries healthy. This citrus fruit is packed with vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce total cholesterol, inhibit platelet aggregation, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the arteries.
Cinnamon reduces various risk factors linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease. According to a 2003 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, a gram, three grams, or six grams of cinnamon a day can lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose in diabetics.
Flaxseed helps unclog arteries thanks to its high fiber content. It also contains an omega-3 acid which helps reduce both blood pressure and inflammation. In a 1997 study flaxseed reduced the development of aortic atherosclerosis by 46 percent in rabbits.
According to a 2007 study, kimchi ( a probiotic recipe made of fermented cabbage and hot peppers), contains compounds which prevent the development of aortic atherosclerosis in high-cholesterol-fed rabbits. In addition, fermented cabbage has been shown to degrade chemicals like insecticide chlorpyrifos and bisphenol A.
Mounting evidence suggests that regular consumption of sesame seeds helps prevent the progression of atherosclerosis. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the fatty content in sesame oil helps inhibit the formation of atherosclerosis lesion, LDL cholesterol levels, blood cholesterol, and triglycerides in mice.
Pomegranate is packed with punicic acid which helps unclog arteries naturally and combat atherosclerosis. It contains many heart-friendly nutrients as well, such as selenium and magnesium. According to a 2009 study, drinking 240 ml of pomegranate juice a day for 18 months significantly slowed the progression of carotid artery disease.
Other Natural Remedies for Clogged Arteries
- Foods: Coconut oil, asparagus, chia seeds, broccoli, fenugreek seeds, avocado;
- Dietary supplements: Vitamin B6, folic acid, and antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, grape seed extract, pine bark extract, and lutein;