Your arteries are what keep you going. Part of the circulation system, they help move oxygenated blood from the heart to all parts of the body.
But over time, the arteries can show a buildup of plaque, a combination of substances found in your blood. It could be cellular debris, fatty acids, cholesterol, calcium and fibrous connective tissue.
Plaque accumulation in the arteries can cause them to harden, leading to several serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, carotid artery disease and peripheral artery disease.
Try consuming these artery-cleansing superfoods on a regular basis to keep your heart healthy:
- Broccoli: Loaded with vitamin K, this cruciferous vegetable can prevent calcification of arteries. The fibre helps normalise blood pressure and reduces the stress that may cause tears in arterial walls.
Best way to eat: Steamed
- Garlic: This super food is effective in slowing the development of atherosclerosis and seems to be able to modestly reduce blood pressure. Research has shown that the presence of allicin is what makes garlic work.
Best way to eat: As a flavouring
- Cinnamon: A spoonful of cinnamon may be what the doctor ordered to keep the risk of heart disease low. It reduces cholesterol levels, clears and prevents plaque buildup and protects blood from oxidation.
Best way to eat: Sprinkle on your cereal
- Pomegranate: The little red pearls can lower blood pressure, improve your cholesterol profile and protect LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage. The fruit also has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Best way to eat: On its own
- Turmeric: The spice that gives curry its yellow colour contains curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. It helps improve the function of the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels.
Best way to eat: Start your day with a small spoonful
- Asparagus: Full of fibre, minerals and vitamins including K, B1, B2, C, and E, asparagus can help reduce blood pressure and prevent blood clots.
Best way to eat: Steamed
- Cold-water fish: Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna can help clear arteries. Rich in healthy fats, they help improve overall cholesterol by lowering triglyceride levels and increasing HDL cholesterol.
Best way to eat: Grilled
- Cranberries: Rich in antioxidants, this fruit can improve cardiovascular health by reducing LDL and increasing HDL cholesterol levels.
Best way to eat: Sip a serving of juice
- Avocado: Research has shown that this buttery fruit can keep your blood flowing smoothly. Daily consumption leads to improved blood cholesterol. The fruit is also rich in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.
Best way to eat: In a salad
- Chia Seeds: The fibre and alpha-linolenic acid in these seeds can help clear arteries by regulating blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, and increasing HDL cholesterol. Try this new superfood
Best way to eat: In salads or sprinkled on soups