10 Foods That Unclog Arteries Naturally And Protect Against Heart Attack

If you have high cholesterol levels, it could accumulate as plaque in your arteries. Over time, the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances in the blood causes atherosclerosis, an early form of heart disease. A rupture in the clogged artery can cause chest pain, or even stroke and heart attack.

Atherosclerosis is the main cause of heart disease, which accounts for 32% of all deaths.

Risk factors for atherosclerosis include

  • Unhealthy blood cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Old age1 2

Here are some foods that will unclog your arteries and reduce your risk of heart disease.

1. Oats

Lowering your cholesterol level is the first step to unclog your arteries. Whole grains are known to significantly reduce the levels of unhealthy cholesterol or LDL without affecting the level of healthy cholesterol. In a study, whole grain diets – on an average – reduced cholesterol levels by 4.6 points, with oats lowering the cholesterol levels by 6.5 points. While whole-wheat bread, oats, quinoa, and millet are all

whole grains, research suggests that oats may be most beneficial. However, avoid refined grains as they are stripped of their nutrients and don’t reduce cholesterol levels.3

2. Legumes: Lentils, Beans, Chickpeas, and Peas

Research indicates that a diet rich in legumes (like lentils, beans, and chickpeas) can lower the LDL-C levels. Legumes are rich in soluble fiber, which reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. This, in turn, lowers your LDL-C levels, thus unclogging your arteries and reducing your risk of heart disease.4

Legumes not only decrease cholesterol levels but also lower your blood sugar level, thus reducing the lipid (fat) accumulation in your arteries.5

3. Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries

To reduce your cholesterol level and prevent plaque buildup, eat a handful of berries every day. However, berry juice can increase your sugar intake and actually do more harm than good. Berries, especially blackberries, have a significant LDL-inhibitory effect. Anthocyanin, an antioxidant present in berries, can manage lipid levels and unclog arteries. Strawberries also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that’s known to reduce cholesterol levels.6 7

4. Fatty fish

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish like tuna and sardines can reduce LDL levels. Omega-3 fats also reduce the triglycerides (a certain type of fat) in your blood that could contribute to plaque buildup. However, don’t eat fish more than 2-3 times a week, as it can lead to mercury toxicity.8

5. Nuts

Eat a handful of nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios

peanuts, and brazil nuts – every day to manage your cholesterol levels. They contain unsaturated fats, which lower LDL levels and prevent atherosclerosis.9 Tree nuts are also high in fiber, another nutrient that’s known for regulating cholesterol levels in your heart. In fact, researchers have concluded that that 3 ounces of pistachios can reduce the amounts of total cholesterol in the blood by 8.4 percent and the “bad cholesterol” level by 11.6 percent.10

6. Spinach

Spinach is rich in arginine, an amino acid that converts the nitrate in nuts into nitric oxide, which expands your blood vessels and improves blood flow. Dietary nitrate is reported to reduce arterial stiffness and high blood pressure, the two contributing factors for atherosclerosis.11

7. Avocados

Eat half an avocado

– that is the standard serving – every day to unclog your arteries. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and fiber, which lower the LDL levels. A study conducted on overweight and obese individuals showed that consumption of one avocado every day, brought down their LDL levels significantly when compared to people who didn’t eat any.12

The LDL-reducing effect is also attributed to the presence of a plant-based compound called beta-sitosterol present in avocados. This reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food in the body.

8. Dark chocolate

Cocoa is the primary ingredient in dark chocolate. Unlike milk chocolates which are high in sugar, dark chocolate doesn’t have high sugar content and has more than 70% cocoa. Both cocoa and dark contain flavonoids – an antioxidant that is shown to

reduce cholesterol levels. One study showed that the cholesterol levels of participants reduced by 6.5 mg/dl, when they consumed cocoa beverage daily, twice a day, for a month.13

9. Olive oil

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to oils that contain saturated fat, opt for olive oil. It’s an important component of the Mediterranean diet, which is known to improve overall heart health and increase lifespan. It has high amounts (about around 75-80%) of unsaturated fat that reduce your “bad” cholesterol levels, thus unclogging your arteries.14

Include these foods in your diet to clear up your clogged arteries and reduce your risk of developing other conditions, such as heart disease.