Natural Foods for Healthy Arteries
Keeping our arteries free from plaque is an essential part of our overall health. The arteries circulate oxygen through our bloodstream, fueling every part of our body from our brains to our immune system. Healthy arteries are smooth on the inside but a build up of arterial plaque (or atherosclerosis) can begin to form, causing many health problems.
The signs and dangers of clogged arteries
As plaque, made up of calcium, fat, cholesterol and fibrin, builds up inside the arterial walls the body may begin to exhibit symptoms of this dangerous condition, including:
- chest pains
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
In many cases there are no symptoms until a major event occurs, such as a stroke or heart attack.
What causes arterial plaque?
All of the following are contributors to plaque build up in the arteries:
- a diet high in LDL’s (or ‘bad cholesterol’)
- smoking (or exposure to cigarette smoke)
Simple steps to healthy arteries
Whether you have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis or concerned about your arterial health there are many ways to limit your risk and reduce any current build up. Medical professionals agree that a healthy lifestyle is the number one factor in arterial health. Fortunately, these changes are all in our power to achieve, namely:
- eating a low cholesterol diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat, sugar and simple carbohydrates
- not smoking
- taking regular exercise
- avoiding stress
- keeping blood pressure down
- maintaining blood sugars at low levels
In addition to taking the above action, there is a powerful but common remedy which will help combat clogged arteries; the pomegranate.
Pomegranate vs clogged arteries
A number of studies have proved that pomegranate extract can both reverse the effects of clogged arteries and reduce the risk of developing a build-up of arterial plaque.
The pomegranate is a source of natural sugars and is a powerful antioxidant.
A single glass of pomegranate juice will provide you with your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of folic acid and half of your RDA of the vitamins A, B, C and E.
The key to arterial health, though, is the abundance of potassium found in the pomegranate which helps maintain the body’s balance of sodium and potassium; a key factor in healthy blood circulation.
Pomegranates to protect the heart
Nitric oxide is essential to keep our arteries from narrowing and to keep our muscles relaxed. This molecule is produced in small quantities by our bodies and also helps regulate our blood pressure. Pomegranate juice promotes the natural production of this crucial ingredient to good cardiovascular and arterial health.
Studies suggest that by drinking one glass of pomegranate juice per day is enough to harness its excellent health benefits.
Other natural remedies
- Carrots: although high in natural sugars, carrots help regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. Carrot juice is also rich in potassium and is an excellent cleansing remedy.
- Spinach: a great source of antioxidants and folate, spinach helps reduce homocysteine levels, lowering the risks of developing atherosclerosis.
- Grapefruit: high in vitamin C, the grapefruit can help improve the elasticity of arteries and the pectin is effective in decreasing the accumulation of arterial plaque.