Your arteries carry oxygen-rich blood throughout every part of your body. When healthy, arteries are smooth on the inside, and blood flows through them easily, according to WebMD. However, sometimes we get a buildup of plaque on the inner walls of our arteries, which clogs them and inhibits blood flow.
Clogged arteries are incredibly dangerous; they increase the likelihood of heart attack and stroke, which can be fatal. It isn't only older people who are at risk of compromised arteries. With bad habits like a poor diet, smoking and a lack of exercise, we're all at risk. It's important to be aware of your artery health no matter how old you are. Fortunately, there are some natural ways to keep your arteries healthy, and we've listed eight of them below.
1. Make lifestyle changes. This one is obvious but absolutely essential, according to WebMD. Throw out the cigarettes, exercise regularly, and watch your weight. Try managing your stress levels too; stress is a common factor in heart disease. Make sure you run this by your doctor, but you'll want to go up to 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
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2. Choose healthy fats. People have long thought that all fat was detrimental to heart health, but this isn't the case, according to Medical News Today and many other studies that have debunked this myth. Natural Living Ideas explains that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish — and in cod liver oil, in particular — are great for heart health. Other healthy oils and fats include avocado, olive, almond and flaxseed. Even coconut oil, which is a saturated fat, has a high lauric acid content, and this helps to lubricate our arteries.
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3. Drink pomegranate juice. WebMD cites a large study that shows pomegranate juice might help to keep our arteries healthy. It reduces blood vessel damage, thereby preventing the hardening of our arteries, and because it is so rich in antioxidants, it is thought to actually reverse the progression of heart disease.
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4. Take your vitamins. Natural Living Ideas explains the link between vitamins B6, B12 and C and heart health. These vitamins keep our arteries flexible and help to prevent plaque buildup and blood clots. Safe supplements are widely available, but these vitamins are also obtainable from our food. B-complex vitamins are found in meat and fish, dairy, cereals and a range of vegetables, whereas vitamin C is easily obtainable by eating citrus fruits and vegetables like broccoli and red peppers.
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5. Eat more garlic. We already know that garlic is a superfood, and according to Step to Health, it is also the best way to promote clean arteries naturally. It is a powerful antioxidant and fights the free radicals in your body while lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. Garlic improves blood flow and fights hypertension; just try to eat it crushed and raw for maximum benefit.
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6. Try turmeric. Turmeric is fast taking off as the latest health supplement. Top 10 Home Remedies explains that turmeric contains curcumin, which is proven to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to prevent blood clots. Turmeric also lowers bad cholesterol to reduce buildup in the arteries and relax blood vessels. You can add turmeric to your food, take turmeric capsules or make your own turmeric latte.
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7. Swap your coffee for ginger tea. Ginger is another effective remedy for clogged arteries, according to Top 10 Home Remedies, because it prevents and reduces plaque buildup by lowering cholesterol. You can eat ginger raw, or you can add freshly grated ginger to hot water for a healthy tea. Note that ginger can be quite spicy and strong-flavored, and you shouldn't continue to ingest it if it causes you any gastrointestinal issues.
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8. Refrain from smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic, quitting smoking can improve your HDL cholesterol level (the good one). Blood circulation, heart rate, and blood pressure are known to improve after you quit with the effects being more pronounced the longer you quit for good.
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9. Refrain from excessive alcohol consumption. Drink in moderation only. Mayo Clinic recommends up to 1 drink per day for women of all ages and men older than 65 and 2 drinks per day for men younger than 65.
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10. Go colorful with your veggies. It goes without saying that vegetables should make up the majority of a healthy balanced diet. But if you need any more convincing, know that veggies contain plenty of sterols, which flush away harmful cholesterol the same way that soluble fiber does. Livestrong recommends eating three to five servings per day of veggies, focusing on the most colorful ones: sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Dark leafy greens like spinach provide plenty of magnesium, which is important for lowering blood pressure.
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Many common lifestyle factors can cause plaque buildup in our arteries at any age, but it's easy to begin clearing your arteries via a cleansing diet and healthy lifestyle choices. It will decrease your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke, and you'll feel better for it, so make the change before it's too late.