Would you like to discover the best foods to clean your arteries for smooth blood flow and a stronger heart Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death globally, but it’s largely preventable. Today, we present the top 10 foods and supplements that can help decrease your risk factors, that have actual evidence behind their benefits. A major underlying mechanism of CVD – which includes heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease – is atherosclerosis or plaque formation in the arteries. The nutrients we’ll mention may help prevent and reduce plaque through various processes.
Make sure you watch till the end, cause most people are not getting enough of one nutrient which prevents your arteries from hardening. Can you guess which is it?
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice, we are not doctors. If you take any medication, remember to consult your doctor as some supplements can have interactions.
First, are you taking the three-food combo of nitrate-rich vegetables, cocoa powder or dark chocolate, and garlic we covered in a previous video, “Food Combo to Strengthen Your Heart”?
Eating these three core foods daily helps to increase, maintain, and strengthen the production of Nitric Oxide (NO). High levels of NO in your blood dilates the blood vessels, which improves blood circulation, and lowers blood pressure. To this three-food combo, you can add any of the 10 nutrients we mention in this video.
Number 10. Berberine.
Berberine is a yellow-colored compound, found in plants like Oregon grape, barberries, and goldenseal, that has a protective effect against heart failure and hypertension. This nutrient helps reduce insulin resistance – a common cause of atherosclerosis over time. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels increases blood pressure, which damages the inside of artery walls, and allows cholesterol, fat, calcium, fibrin, and cellular waste to lodge in the arteries forming plaque. If a piece of plaque breaks off, it can form a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, causing a heart attack.
Berberine is an AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) activator – which means it can help draw glucose and lipids into a cell, which can then be used as energy. Berberine’s blood sugar-lowering effect is similar to the diabetes drug Metformin. One meta-analysis showed that berberine can greatly improve glucose levels (HbA1c), and reduce blood lipids and blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes.
Number 9. Carnitine.
Carnitine plays a role in cognition, energy metabolism, and cardiovascular health. In one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, L-carnitine – the biologically active form of carnitine – reduced oxidized LDL cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
LDL is often called “the bad cholesterol” (as opposed to HDL). LDL oxidation is known to contribute to atherosclerosis, and reducing LDL oxidation reduces atherosclerosis.
People who have had a heart attack can add carnitine to their treatment. This may lower the risk of abnormal heartbeats in the lower chambers (ventricular arrhythmia), as well as pain in the chest or limbs caused by poor blood circulation (angina).
Carnitine is a chemical derived from amino acids, and can be found in almost every cell of the body. However, roughly 75% of carnitine in omnivorous people come from animal-derived products — red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
Number 8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, and shellfish are a great source of omega-3s. Fish oil contains the two long-chained fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which can reliably reduce triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides refer to the fatty acids in your blood, which are used for energy or stored as body fat. High triglycerides are often a sign of obesity and metabolic syndrome and increase the risk of CVD.
Even in people with normal triglyceride levels, Omega-3s can reduce inflammation and high blood pressure, and consequently plaque formation and the risk of atherosclerosis.
Number 7. Venotonics.
Venotonics, also called venotropics or phlebotropics, are naturally occurring or synthetic medicinals that improve the rate at which the blood returns to the heart. They are used to treat chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which occurs when leg veins don’t allow blood to flow back up to the heart, resulting in blood pooling in the legs. They are also used to treat leg swelling caused by prolonged sitting or to reduce varicose veins.
Some natural venotonics are horse chestnut, Butcher’s Broom, red vine (grapes, leaves and seeds), and sweet clover. Pycnogenol, the bark extract of the French maritime pine tree, helps support NO levels, and improves blood flow to the legs as well as lower blood pressure.
Number 6. Grape Seed Extract.
Like the flavonoids in cocoa and pine bark, procyanidins, and other flavonoids in grape seeds can help support NO levels. Studies show that grape seed extract can reduce blood pressure and enhance delivery of oxygen to the heart, thereby minimizing the potential risks for heart disease.
Number 5. Vitamin K1 and K2.
Both forms of vitamin K have been linked to good cardiovascular health. According to a recent New Edith Cowan University study, people with a vitamin K-rich diet are at up to 34% lower risk of heart disease, particularly peripheral artery disease.
You may have heard of the term ‘hardening of the arteries’ – this is the same thing as calcification. Calcium deposits in the blood vessel walls as part of the plaque in atherosclerosis. Vitamin K2 is one of the few nutrients, that may be able to reduce arterial calcification and stiffness. It helps move calcium away from the arteries to the bones where it is needed for growth.
You can find vitamin K1 in dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens. The best sources of K2 include natto, eel, cheese, beef liver, chicken, butter, sauerkraut and egg yolk.
See our video, “Top 9 Vitamin K2 Foods to Stop Bone Loss and Artery Stiffness”.
Number 4. CoQ10.
Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule produced in the body and aids mitochondria (the “power plants” in our cells) during energy production. This nutrient may become deficient due to suffering a heart attack, taking statins (cholesterol lowering medication), various disease states, and aging.
CoQ10 supplementation can significantly increase HDL cholesterol. It lowers levels of inflammatory biomarkers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, shown to be risk factors for CVD. In people who have suffered a heart attack, taking CoQ10 reduces the risk of further heart complications. In addition, CoQ10 has the potential to lower both systolic and diastolic numbers.
Organ meats are especially good sources of CoQ10. Other common food sources of CoQ10 are meats (pork, beef, chicken), fatty fish (sardine, trout, mackerel), legumes (lentils, peanuts), nuts and seeds, and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.
Number 3. Resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a plant compound with plenty of health-boosting benefits. Because it acts as an antioxidant, one of its functions is lowering blood pressure. According to a study, higher doses of resveratrol may lower the systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure on the artery walls caused by heartbeats.
Other research in humans show that resveratrol could raise insulin sensitivity and decrease fat stores, blood lipids, and inflammatory markers.
Resveratrol can be found in foods like grapes, wine, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, and pistachios.
Number 2. Taurine.
You may recognize taurine because it’s a popular ingredient in energy drinks. This amino acid is found abundantly in the body, especially in heart tissues where it helps maintain a regular heart-beat. Under healthy conditions, the body can produce taurine from the amino acids methionine, cysteine and from vitamin B6.
In patients with heart failure, short-term taurine supplementation (2 weeks) yielded improvements in cardiovascular function before and after exercise. Studies have also suggested that taurine may have some beneficial effects on blood pressure in those with hypertension.
Foods high in taurine are shellfish (shrimp, clams, oysters), organ meats (liver, kidneys, heart), eggs, seaweed, Brewer’s yeast, nuts, dairy, salmon, beef jerky, lamb.
Number 1. Lycopene.
Lycopene is a plant nutrient, antioxidant, and pigment that gives some foods their natural reddish color. It is abundant in tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes. Eating a lycopene-rich diet reduces free radical damage, total and LDL cholesterol levels, and increases HDL cholesterol. This may help lower the risk of developing or prematurely dying from heart disease. In one 10-year study, researchers noted that individuals with metabolic syndrome who had the highest blood lycopene levels, had up to a 39% lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
There you have it! The top 10 foods that clean your arteries for a stronger heart. To see the studies mentioned in this video, click the link below.
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And now over to you! What foods are you eating to keep your arteries clean?
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