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The top 20 artery-cleansing foods are easy to work into your diet. They’re a mix of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that you should be eating anyway. By working them into your meal plan you’ll not eat a more heart-healthy diet, but you’ll decrease your risk of heart disease.
Your arteries are critical to your heart’s health. Your aorta is what keeps blood flowing to your body. It branches off into two main coronary arteries, which branch off into smaller arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the entire heart muscle.
If you’re ready to reduce the risk of a number of heart-related health issues just by watching what you eat, this list should help.
The list of the top 20 artery-cleansing foods begins with avocados. They’re high in potassium, which researchers link to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium, and they’re low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat, which reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, while raising the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) in your body. Cholesterol is what clogs artery walls.
Nuts are also rich in unsaturated fats, vitamins, and soluble fiber. Inside your digestive system, soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body, helping to reduce overall cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends eating four 1.5-ounce (about a handful) servings of unsalted, unoiled nuts per week.
Whole grains have the dietary fiber you’re looking for. Fiber reduces cholesterol levels, which lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke. That fiber will also make you feel fuller longer and help you lose weight.
You’ll also add vital nutrients to your body, such as iron, magnesium and selenium. These are all important for a variety of bodily functions, including carrying oxygen in the blood.
To keep arteries healthy, use liquid fats, otherwise known as oils. The best ones are olive, canola, corn and safflower oils because they contain the least saturated fat.
Saturated and trans fats raise your LDL cholesterol.
Nothing says artery-cleansing food like some omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death.
Like avocado, fish is also packed with healthy, unsaturated fats.
Asparagus is one of the best, natural artery-cleansing foods around. It’s not only known for decreasing inflammation, but it’s also high in vitamin K and folate. On top of that, a study in the journal “Neuron” found it contains the amino acid asparagine, which is important in the development and function of the brain.
One recent study found drinking three cups of coffee a day significantly lowers your risk for developing atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries.
A recent German study also found caffeine levels equivalent to around four cups of coffee improved the function of endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels.
Tea also has caffeine, but researchers say drinking green tea helps lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides — good news for your heart. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. They’re usually measured along with cholesterol levels. Many studies link high triglycerides to an increased risk of heart disease and death.
Vitamin K in broccoli keeps your arteries from clogging by preventing calcium from damaging your arteries. These little trees also contain sulforaphane, which helps the body use protein to prevent plaque build-up in the arteries.
This summertime favorite is a great natural source of the amino acid L-citrulline, which boosts nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide causes the arteries to relax, decreases inflammation and can help lower blood pressure.
Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is often tied to a hardening of the arteries.
Pomegranate benefits your cardiovascular system by preventing damage to arterial walls, promoting healthy blood pressure levels, improving blood flow to the heart, and preventing or reversing atherosclerosis.
Furthermore, studies show pomegranate antioxidants are unique in their ability to increase the activity of your HDL cholesterol.
Orange juice is another source of powerful antioxidants, as well as vitamins C and A. It protects your body from pollutants, free radicals and improves heart health.
This dark, leafy green is filled with potassium, folate and fiber, which helps lower blood pressure and prevents artery blockage.
Research shows the polyphenols found in this fruit can help decrease levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It’s also worth noting that persimmons have twice as much fiber and more antioxidants than an apple.
It’s been shown to lower LDL and triglyceride levels. It also seems to have a positive effect on blood pressure.
Cranberries are a great source of potassium, which lowers bad cholesterol and increases your good cholesterol.
A study from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found people who eat three servings of low-fat dairy each day have lower systolic blood pressure than those who eat less. But a similar study found mixed results.
It’s probably not for everyone, but seaweed is packed with vitamins, proteins, minerals and carotenoids which easily regulate your blood pressure.
The superfood has been described as “most complete food source in the world.” It’s a blue-green algae (usually found in supplement or powder form) that may help relax your artery walls. One study found that it may even help normalize blood pressure.
This list of foods that can help put you on the road to a healthier heart. If you’d like more heart-healthy tips, download our guide “Heart Disease Facts That Could Change Your Life.”