Cholesterol is an essential substance the body uses as part of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and to make bile acids. We need cholesterol for optimal health, but too much cholesterol being transported in the blood stream can increase risk for plaque formation.
Plaques formed in blood vessels can cause blockages leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Therefore, limiting plaque formation is crucial for lowering risk for cardiovascular disease.
Lowering levels of blood LDL cholesterol is recommended for keeping arteries clean because LDL cholesterol can promote plaque buildup in arteries.
The bad news is: making all plaque disappear from blood vessels isn’t likely to happen.
However, you can shrink and stabilize plaque buildup in blood vessels according to Harvard Medical cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon (1).
There are genetic factors that can influence cholesterol levels and plaque formation.
Unfortunately, we can’t control genetic risk factors, but other factors we can control like diet and exercise can help naturally clean up your arteries.
Following a diet high in fiber, antioxidants, low in saturated, trans fats is recommended for naturally cleaning arteries.
Eating a Mediterranean diet has also been shown to have positive effects for cardiovascular health and may help keep arteries clean.
Eating more dietary fiber is important for many reasons; one being it can help lower risk for heart disease.
Studies have shown soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol level which in turn can lower risk for heart disease.
A 2003 review (2) analyzed data from over 9,000 adults examining the relationship between total fiber, soluble fiber intake and risk for cardiovascular disease.
Researchers found a higher intake of fiber, particularly soluble fiber, lowered risk for cardiovascular disease.
Oats are one of the top sources of soluble fiber.
Incorporating more oats in your diet can help keep your arteries clean.
For an added health benefit, top oatmeal with fruit and nuts to get even more fiber and antioxidants.
Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats, fiber and minerals.
Even though they are higher in calories, incorporating nuts into a healthy diet could help promote clean arteries.
According to Mayo Clinic (3), nuts may positively affect heart health by helping to lower your LDL cholesterol level.
Nuts are a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop plaques from forming in your arteries.
Therefore, eating foods high in vitamin E, like nuts, can help naturally keep your arteries clean.
According to WebMD (4), research suggests eating an apple or more per day may help lower risk for heart disease.
Consistent intake of eating apples was associated with lowering markers of inflammation and plaque buildup in artery walls according to one study.
What makes apples so beneficial for heart health?
They are a good source of antioxidants and soluble fiber. T
his combination means apples can offer a lot for keeping blood vessels clear and promoting heart health.
Like oats and apples, legumes are a great source of soluble fiber which makes them a great artery cleansing food.
One study noted by the Bean Institute (5) concluded one half cup serving of legumes per day was associated with a 38% reduced risk for a heart attack.
Other research suggests people consuming legumes at least 4 times per week had a 22% lower risk of heart disease compared to people who ate legumes one time or less per week.
Legumes are high in fiber and protein meaning they can help keep you full after eating.
They are also a source of potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin B6.
Vegetables high in soluble fiber
All fruits and vegetables provide a source of dietary fiber and contain a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Therefore, increasing your intake of any fruits and vegetables can be beneficial for heart health.
Eating more of these vegetables can help boost your intake of soluble fiber which can help cleanse your arteries.
Instead of focusing on one particular food to eat for cleaning your arteries, remember to focus on your overall diet quality.
Many studies have shown an inverse relationship between following an eating pattern of the Mediterranean diet and risk for cardiovascular disease.
The Mediterranean diet includes foods people living around the Mediterranean Sea naturally eat in their diet.
It is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, whole grains and a moderate intake of fish and poultry.
The Mediterranean diet is also low in red meats, sweets, dairy products and wine in moderation.
This diet’s beneficial effect on heart health isn’t from just eating one food; it is a combination of all the nutrient dense foods incorporated in this eating plan.
Studies suggesting the benefit of following a Mediterranean diet on heart health are significant.
In fact, a large 2013 study (6) concluded following a Mediterranean diet may be one of the primary ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Conclusion: The best artery cleansing foods
Foods high in soluble fiber and antioxidants can help promote clean arteries.
Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, and antioxidants can lower inflammation associated with plaque buildup.
Oats, legumes, apples, nuts, asparagus, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and peas are examples of foods that can naturally clean arteries because they are high in both soluble fiber and antioxidants.
Following a Mediterranean diet pattern may be one of the best dietary practices for promoting clean arteries.
Following this diet pattern has been shown to lower risk for cardiovascular disease and promote heart health.