Improving your cardiovascular health by clearing plaque build up from arteries is a sure-fire way to decrease your risk of serious heart disease or stroke. While there are surgeries and medications available that might do the trick, most of them come with some form of side-effect which can make you feel sick or weak for years of your life. For those who would rather use natural alternatives to improve their heart health, here are some tips to point you in the right direction.
1. Avoid Processed Fats
The idea that fat substitutes and heat-treated, chemically-processed oils are somehow better for you than good old-fashioned natural butter is a myth. The trans fats contained in purported “heart-healthy” foods like margarine, canola, soybean, and corn oils are actually worse than saturated fats. Not only do they increase LDL cholesterol, they also cause your other organs to malfunction, producing mutated hormones, build-up of toxins, inflammation, weight-gain, and even cancer. (Read how science is debunking fat myths!)
2. Healthy Fats to Unclog Arteries
Probably the most well-known of all healthy fats are the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Of these, cod liver oil is considered the best due to its high concentration of vitamin D3. Other vitamin-rich oils include avocado, olive, almond, flaxseed, and palm oils.
Coconut oil is the “super-food” of healthy fats and is rapidly gaining popularity for its long list of health benefits. Though it is a saturated fat, coconut oil is comprised mainly of lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride which naturally helps to lubricate arteries when eaten daily. If you’re still leery about the idea that “butter is actually good for you,” you should give coconut oil a try instead.
3. Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins B6, B12, and C have been linked to cardiovascular health. Adequate quantities of these nutrients keep arterial walls flexible and help to prevent damage that can lead to plaque and blood clots. Vitamin B6 is easily obtained from many of the meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables we consume. Good sources of B12 also include many meats, as well as dairy products, eggs, and some fortified vegetable sources like bran and tofu. Get your daily dose of vitamin C from any of these delicious fruits and vegetables.
4. Get More Sleep
If you aren’t getting the recommended 8 hours of rest every night, chances are pretty good that you have high blood-pressure, are over-weight, or both. This is because your brain and body perform most of their maintenance while you’re unconscious at night. If you want to reduce plaque build-up and damage to your arteries, getting more sleep is a big step in the right direction.
5. Unwind With Meditation
Take half an hour at the end of your day to relax and meditate. This will help you to reduce stress which can naturally lower your blood pressure and help you to get a good night’s sleep. Lower blood pressure relieves stress on arterial walls and allows your blood to flow more easily. Better circulation facilitates better oxygen- and nutrient-supply to your brain and muscles. Your body will be able to heal existing damage more easily and you’ll be less likely to develop problems in the future if you can keep your stress-levels low.
6. Gradually Stop Smoking
By far the most difficult advice on this list, kicking a smoking habit will benefit every part of your body. The chemicals in tobacco smoke cause damage to blood cells and arteries. Constant bombardment of the stimulant, nicotine also causes rapid fluctuations in blood-pressure which puts stress on the arterial walls. While it is certainly easier said than done, finding a way to kick the smoking habit will help to heal and clear your arteries.
7. Exercise for Your Heart
Weight loss is good for your all-around health, but it is also a great way to prevent and clear clogged arteries. Make an honest effort to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, even if it’s just to jog a couple of blocks or power-walk around the office building on your lunch break. Some other examples of workouts which you can easily sneak into a busy schedule include running in place for five minutes, indulging in a random bout of jumping jacks behind your desk, doing a few sets of chair squats, or getting up and dancing to a favorite song. Swimming is another great way to exercise, especially if you have sore joints that prevent high-impact activities like running. Also, check out these 10 Exercises to do at Your Desk.
8. Minimize Alcohol Consumption
If you drink more than one or two servings of alcohol per day, you may be hindering your bodies ability to heal itself and keep arteries clear of dangerous obstructions. Try to minimize your intake of beer and liquor. Instead, enjoy a glass of red wine which contains heart-healthy antioxidants that may help to protect against damage to arterial walls, reduce LDL cholesterol, and prevent the formation of blood clots.
9. Foods that Unclog Arteries
Whole grains and other foods containing soluble fiber have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and improve heart health. Also, dark leafy greens contain antioxidants which can help your body to repair and prevent damage to arterial walls caused by oxidation in the blood stream. For more information about 21 foods that unclog arteries, read our recent article here.