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15 Foods That May Help Prevent Clogged Arteries

15 Foods That May Help Prevent Clogged Arteries

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What can cause arteries to get blocked

Atherosclerosis is thought to be a major cause of heart disease, especially coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease in the US.

Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of about 50% of deaths in Western countries .

It’s a chronic inflammatory disease with numerous risk factors.

You’re more likely to develop atherosclerosis if you :

A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and fish, on the other hand, has been shown to lower the chance of atherosclerosis and heart disease.


Some foods may help keep your arteries clear and lower your risk of getting heart disease. Berries, beans, peppers, fish, oats, and leafy greens are all examples.

Atherosclerosis happens when fat builds up on the walls of arteries. People may have talked about this problem as clogged arteries or hardening of the vessels.


Because of atherosclerosis, the arteries get smaller, which cuts off blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body.

Eating foods that are high in vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and other good chemicals may help keep plaque from building up in your arteries. Some of these foods are:

  • berries
  • some types of fish
  • certain vegetables and leafy greens
  • nuts and seeds
  • olive oil

Here are 15 foods that may help prevent clogged arteries.

A bowl of mixed berries

1. Berries

There are many health benefits linked to these fruits, such as their ability to lower inflammation and improve heart health.

  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • cranberries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries

Berries have fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant substances that are good for you. Some of these are flavonoid antioxidants, like polyphenols, which may be good for your heart.

Researchers have also found that eating berries lowers the risk of cholesterol by a large amount.

Berries may help prevent clogged arteries by reducing inflammation and cholesterol accumulation, improving artery function, and protecting against cellular damage .

2. Beans

As a matter of fact, eating fiber-rich foods like beans is one of the best ways to avoid getting atherosclerosis.

Eating beans is a great way to lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of getting clogged arteries. A lot of research has shown that eating beans can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by a large amount.

Beans offer various cardioprotective effects, including :

  • reducing blood pressure
  • reducing blood triglyceride levels
  • lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels
  • reducing inflammation
  • improving artery function

The same review notes that bean-rich diets can also improve:

  • insulin sensitivity
  • body weight and waist circumference
  • colon health
  • gut microbiome diversity

All of these effects may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

3. Fish

Researchers have not yet found a clear reason why eating omega-3-rich fish may help lower the chance of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be turned into bioactive lipid mediators by the body. These may help lower inflammation and blood clotting, two things that can make vessels hard to get to.

Another review of research notes that eating fish may :

  • reduce triglycerides
  • lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • improve the pumping of oxygen-rich blood to your organs
  • reduce inflammation
  • reduce the risk of blood clots

4. Tomatoes and tomato products

Heirloom tomatoes

There are plant chemicals in tomatoes and tomato products that may help slow down the growth of atherosclerosis.

Lycopene is a carotenoid color that is found in tomatoes. Studies show that eating tomato items high in lycopene may help:

reduce inflammation
boost HDL (good) cholesterol
reduce the risk of heart disease

Putting together cooked tomato and olive oil might be the best way to keep your arteries from getting clogged.



5. Onions

Onions come from the family Allium and are good for you in many ways, like keeping your arteries healthy. It has been found that eating a lot of these common vegetables may help keep the arteries healthy.

A study that followed 1,226 women aged 70 and up for 15 years found that eating more Allium vegetables, like onions, was linked to a lower chance of death from atherosclerosis-related diseases.

Scientists think that sulfur chemicals found in onions may help keep blood vessels from swell, stop platelets in the blood from sticking together, and make more nitric oxide available.

All of these benefits may help keep you from getting atherosclerosis and keep your arteries healthy.

6. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits taste great and are full of healthy things like flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Free radicals in the body can damage LDL (bad) cholesterol, but citrus flavonoids can help stop this from happening. Oxidized LDL is linked to the start and spread of atherosclerosis.

This could be why eating citrus fruits lowers your chance of heart disease and stroke, two conditions that are linked to atherosclerosis.

7. Spices

Some spices, like cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and chili, may help keep your arteries from getting clogged.

These and other spices have anti-inflammatory properties and may help :

reduce free radicals
improve blood lipid levels
reduce the clumping together of platelets in the blood

These flavor enhancers can be used to eat more spices by adding them to oatmeal, soups, stews, and almost any other food you can think of.



 8. Flax seeds

Flax seeds have a lot of fiber, vitamins, minerals, good fats, and minerals like magnesium and calcium. Not only are flax seeds very healthy, but they may also help stop atherosclerosis.

Flax seeds have a substance called secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) that lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation. This lignan molecule may also help fight atherosclerosis and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

To digest flax seeds and get their health benefits, you need to grind them yourself or buy them already ground.


9. Cruciferous vegetables



If you eat more cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, you may lower your risk of getting clogged arteries.

Atherosclerosis is less likely to happen if you eat cruciferous veggies, according to studies.

A study of 1,500 women found that eating cruciferous veggies was linked to a thinner carotid intima-media layer (CIMT).

This measurement can help figure out how likely it is that someone will get a disease tied to atherosclerosis.

The eating of cruciferous vegetables has also been linked to a lower chance of death from diseases related to atherosclerosis and arteries that harden.

In atherosclerosis, the stiffening of the arteries is caused by calcification of the arteries.


10. Beets

Nitrates are found in large amounts in beets. Your body changes nitrates into nitric oxide, which is a communication molecule that is very important to your health.

Because of inflammation in the blood vessels, less nitric oxide is made.

Rich in dietary nitrates, foods like beets may help blood vessels work better and reduce inflammation, which may help keep atherosclerosis at bay.

Researchers have also found a link between eating foods high in nitrates and a lower chance of dying from atherosclerosis.



11. Oats

Eating oats can help significantly reduce atherosclerosis risk factors, including high total and LDL (bad) cholesterol .

Avenanthramides are an antioxidant found in oats that may help stop the action of cytokines and adhesion molecules, which are inflammatory proteins. This might help keep atherosclerosis from happening.

It might also help to eat oat bran, which is full of fiber.

A study that included 716 people with coronary artery disease found that those who consumed oat fiber regularly had lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and inflammatory markers than those who did not eat oat fiber .

The study also found that oat fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of needing revascularization — a procedure to increase oxygen delivery to the heart and other parts of the body. A person may need this if atherosclerosis has impeded their blood flow .



12. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. What’s more, these tiny and versatile foods may help avoid clogged arteries.

Eating nuts and seeds can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and may help boost HDL (good) cholesterol and lower systolic blood pressure .

Research also suggests eating nuts and seeds lowers blood sugar levels and may help protect against diabetes, a known risk factor for atherosclerosis .

Eating nuts and seeds may also help improve blood vessel health and protect against heart disease.



13. Leafy greens

Leafy green


Leafy greens, including lettuces, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and spinach, offer nutrients that may help protect against atherosclerosis.

Foods that are high in nitrates, like green leafy veggies, can help blood vessels work better and reduce swelling.

A lot of potassium is also in them. This mineral helps stop arterial calcification, which is a process that makes atherosclerosis more likely.

Eating green leafy vegetables has been shown in many studies to lower the chance of getting heart disease.

The American Heart Association did a study and found that people who ate one serving of green leafy vegetables every day had a 12–18% lower chance of heart disease, stroke, and coronary heart disease.



14. Cocoa and dark chocolate

Cocoa and dark chocolate products are delicious and may help ward off atherosclerosis.

A review of the studies shows that eating chocolate may lower your risk of having a stroke, heart disease, or diabetes.

Polyphenol plant chemicals are found in large amounts in cocoa and dark chocolate. These help the body make more nitric oxide and lessen inflammation in the arteries, which may help people with atherosclerosis work better.

But chocolate can also have fats and sugar in it, which may work against some of its good chemicals. If you want to get the most out of dark chocolate, it might be best to choose one with more than 70% cocoa and eat the recommended one to two ounces.


15. Olive oil

Olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet, may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

You may be less likely to get heart disease if you eat olive oil because it may make your blood vessels work better and lower inflammatory signs.

A 2018 review also found that eating olive oil is linked to lower levels of inflammatory markers related to atherosclerosis and a lower chance of heart disease and its complications.

Researchers say that the high amount of polyphenol chemicals in olive oil makes the heart and blood vessels healthier.

Remember that extra virgin olive oil that hasn’t been refined as much has a lot more polyphenols than olive oils that have been processed more.


The bottom line



A healthy diet full of foods that are high in nutrients may lower your chance of getting clogged arteries.

Adding cruciferous vegetables, fish, berries, olive oil, oats, onions, veggies, beans, and berries to your diet might help keep atherosclerosis at bay.

All of the above things are also good for you in many other ways. Including them in your daily life may greatly lower your risk of getting sick and improve your general health.



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