Today, we talk about the best natural remedies to help reduce plaque in your arteries and prevent cardiovascular disease. But first, we need to understand what is going on behind the scenes that cause plaque to form.
When the arteries are damaged, and blood flow is obstructed or even completely blocked, this condition is called atherosclerosis.
It starts when the endothelium becomes inflamed and develops silently over many years. The endothelium is the single layer of cells that lines the inner surface of your arteries.
At the sites where the endothelial cells are damaged, plaque starts to form. Plaque is a fatty substance made up of cholesterol, calcium, cellular waste, and a blood-clotting protein called fibrin.
As plaque grows larger, it further damages the endothelium and triggers even more inflammation. The damaged endothelial cells cannot produce nitric oxide properly. Nitric oxide is needed to relax and dilate the blood vessels.
As a result, your arteries become stiff and narrow. Blood flow to your heart, brain and other vital organs is reduced. This forces your heart to pump harder to push blood throughout the body.
As your immune system continues to send white blood cells to attack the plaque, it becomes unstable. The plaque ruptures and forms a clot or thrombus that blocks the artery and triggers a heart attack or stroke.
Keep watching to learn the FIRST thing you must do to reduce plaque in your arteries.
Next, what are the symptoms of atherosclerosis?
When an artery is severely damaged, symptoms may occur, depending on which arteries are affected.
The arteries that lead to your heart:
-Pain and pressure in the chest.
The arteries that lead to your brain:
-Arms and legs that feel numb or weak.
-Difficulty speaking and slurred speech.
-Temporary vision loss in one eye.
-Weakened facial muscles that droop.
The arteries in your arms and legs:
-Pain in the legs when walking.
The arteries that lead to your kidneys:
-High blood pressure.
So, what causes plaque to form in the first place?
You may have heard that “bad cholesterol” or LDL cholesterol causes plaque.
However, LDL particles do NOT grab onto artery walls on their own. What turns LDL cholesterol into deadly plaque is “oxidation”.
An example of “oxidation” is when iron forms rust when it meets oxygen.
Now, imagine LDL “rusting”.
Studies show that people who are at serious risk of heart attack to the extent that they need bypass surgery have high oxidized LDL cholesterol, NOT normal LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is highly prone to oxidation.
Next, where does oxidized cholesterol come from?
One. We acquire them straight from our diets when we eat oxidized fats, oils, and sugars. Processed vegetable oils, sugar, and starches are easily oxidized.
Two. Our body makes oxidized cholesterol when there is a high level of fats and LDL cholesterol relative to HDL cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol) in the blood. High LDL cholesterol is usually caused by poor diet, inactivity, obesity, smoking, and diabetes.
To reduce artery plaque, the first thing we must do is adjust our diet and lifestyle to limit these TWO sources.
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Next, what is the best remedy, to unclog arteries and even prevent plaque from building up?
The best remedy involves reducing oxidized cholesterol and adding the following nutrients as food or supplements.
Let’s start with Number 7. “Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10”.
Not only does oxidation cause plaque, but it also kills the energy-producing mitochondria in your cells, like your heart cells.
CoQ10 supports the mitochondria in energy production. It is critical for heart cells because your heart needs to pump harder when your arteries are blocked by plaque.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant, so it can help stop LDL from being oxidized.
It’s a lot stronger than vitamin E supplements-which some studies have linked to increased risks of cancer.
Supplementing with CoQ10 has been shown to significantly increase HDL cholesterol, reduce inflammatory markers, lower blood pressure, and even help people who have suffered a heart attack avoid complications.
While we can get CoQ10 from organ meats and grass-fed beef, the quantities are small, so it’s best to supplement. This is especially true if you’re on statins as this medication depletes your body’s natural store of CoQ10. If you’re over 45, consider taking 100 mg of a high-absorption CoQ10 daily, like Ubiquinol, to protect your heart.
Next up, at Number 6, we have “Vitamin C”.
You know vitamin C is vital for a strong immune system. But did you know vitamin C also keeps your arteries strong, yet pliable, as they flex and contract with the pulsing of blood?
It helps manufacture collagen–the glue that holds your tissues together, and this includes your blood vessels. When there is a deficiency of vitamin C, micro-tears appear in the arteries and cholesterol enters these cracks.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C has been shown in one study to stop LDL from oxidizing by 64%.
To get these cardioprotective benefits, eat vitamin C from whole foods, or get it from a whole foods supplement, and NOT synthetic ascorbic acid.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and citrus fruits.
Coming up next, Number 5 is “Vitamin B6, B12, folate”.
Vitamin B does more than keep your brain young and healthy. A deficiency can damage the endothelium through high levels of homocysteine in the blood.
Homocysteine is an amino acid used by the body to build and sustain tissue.
When you eat red meat and dairy products, the amino acid methionine converts to homocysteine.
Your body needs vitamins B6, B12, and folate to use homocysteine properly. When levels of these B vitamins are low, homocysteine levels rise.
This causes the smooth muscle cells that lie just beneath the surface of the artery to multiply out of control.
Eventually, the cells create a bulge that protrudes abnormally into the artery. Inflammation attacks this micro-fracture, causing rough and uneven surfaces. To cover and repair the bumpy surface, fats and cholesterol stick to the arterial walls.
Fortunately, it’s easy to load up on foods rich in these B vitamins. They include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, and spinach, peas, beans, poultry, fish, eggs, and liver.
When taking a Vitamin B supplement, choose a liposomal one for better absorption.
Our Number 4 is “Vitamin K2”.
Vitamin K2 is one nutrient that is difficult to get enough from your diet. So you need to plan to take it.
It has the important job of helping to move calcium away from the blood vessels and kidneys to the bones and teeth where it is needed, by activating the hormone osteocalcin.
This helps prevent calcification in the coronary arteries. When your body has calcium floating around without a home, it becomes more likely that it will end up as plaque.
When supplementing, choose the MK-7 form of K2. This is because it has a very long half-life in the body compared to other forms of vitamin K2, which quickly disappear from circulation.
The recommended dosage is 100 to 200 mcg of MK-7 per day. MK-7 is often paired with vitamin D3 because they work together to move calcium.
There are only a few foods that are rich in vitamin K2 MK-7. These are fermented probiotic foods like natto, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt, as well as hard cheeses like Jarlsberg and Edam.
Natto has the highest amounts of MK-7 but if you’re not Japanese, you may not like the taste. Instead, consider a Nattokinase supplement. This enzyme extracted from Natto has the amazing ability to dissolve blood clots and reduce blood thickness, which prevents blood vessel blockages.
When consuming vitamin K2 as food, include a mix of MK-4. These are goose liver and leg, pastured eggs, grass-fed butter, chicken liver and leg, eel, and salmon.
Be aware that vegetable oils block the absorption of vitamin K2, as do medications like statins.
Getting into our Top 3, Number 3 is “Magnesium”.
As many as 80% of adults are deficient in magnesium because it’s depleted in the soil. This is serious because your heart cannot function properly without adequate magnesium.
Magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the heart arteries, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack. Together with vitamins K2 and D3, magnesium stops calcium from forming inside the plaque. Studies have found magnesium lowers high blood pressure, reduces chest pain, and prevents abnormal blood clotting.
Taking 800-1,000 mg of this supplement every day can help protect your heart and treat many heart conditions. If you’re wondering which form of magnesium to take, the magnesium supplement I recommend contains all 7 forms. See the link below.
Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, seeds, beans, fish, whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate, yogurt, avocados, bananas, and more.
Our Number 2 is “Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”
Many experts agree that the healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2:1. The reality is the average person on a typical western diet has a 25:1 ratio, thanks to Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils used for cooking and extending shelf life in packaged foods.
These oils and fats are oxidized when they are heated, dried, aged, exposed to light, and chemically processed, even BEFORE entering your blood vessels.
This is a pro-inflammatory state that gives rise to increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. All these conditions increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids in your diet helps reduce inflammation.
For supplementation, avoid cheap, big-box brand fish oil because they are likely to have oxidized and gone bad.
Go with clean fish oil with high absorption, from a brand you can trust, or consider krill oil.
Excellent food sources of heart-healthy Omega-3s are sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, seaweed, and algae (spirulina and chlorella).
And at Number 1, we have “Garlic, Cocoa, Beetroot”.
I have grouped these three foods because they work synergistically to increase nitric oxide levels and improve blood flow, which helps lower high blood pressure.
Nitrate-rich vegetables like spinach, arugula, and beetroot increase your blood levels of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow. Cocoa helps maintain those high nitric oxide levels. Garlic enhances signaling for more nitric oxide production–so you can get your heart pumping strong!
Take these 3 foods daily as part of a heart-healthy routine: One cup of nitrates, 30-40 grams of dark chocolate with a 75% cocoa content, and 3 to 6 cloves of garlic over several meals.
Garlic, whether in its raw or aged form, protects your heart in FIVE other ways that are backed by studies: prevent coronary artery calcification, reduce arteriosclerotic plaque, increase HDL and decrease LDL, prevent blood clots, and reduce oxidation and inflammation in blood vessels.
If you dislike the smell of garlic, take an aged garlic extract supplement.
Three other amazing foods you can add to your diet to reduce inflammation and open your arteries are cayenne pepper, ginger, and pomegranate juice. See our other videos.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
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