Clean arteries are smooth and flexible. They allow blood to flow freely, letting nutrients and oxygen to reach tissues easily.
Arteries that are clogged with cholesterol and fats, though, become hard. The lining of the arteries becomes uneven. Sticky deposits impede blood flow. All of the tissues begin to suffer. Circulation to the legs may be impaired. Leg pain may occur. Blood pressure rises. Sores on legs won’t heal. Thinking may be impaired. If a part of the lining of the blood vessel or a clot breaks off, it may lodge in the heart, causing a heart attack; or it may lodge in the brain, causing a stroke; or lodge in the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. If the arteries to the kidneys are impaired, hypertension and kidney failure may result. Injured arteries in the liver may result in liver failure.
Keeping the arteries clean is essential for the health and well-being of your entire body. Let’s look at some ways to keep your arteries open, and let’s develop a strategy for unclogging arteries that are already stressed.
How does conventional medicine treat unhealthy arteries?
Conventional medical practitioners focus on prevention as well as symptom management. Health care practitioners recommend a diet low in “bad” cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats. There is nothing wrong with that advice. It is healthy. Unfortunately, specific interventions are often not recommended until the arteries are already impaired. This is evidenced by elevated blood pressure readings, high levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, or blood glucose. A person initially may not have any outward symptoms of the damage occurring for many years.
A crisis may occur that requires stent placement or angiography. Emergency measures are needed.
Medications may be prescribed which lower blood pressure, lower levels of unhealthy cholesterol, or thin the blood. Unfortunately, all of these medications have serious side effects. A better option is to prevent the buildup of plaque and maintain flexibility within the blood vessels before a problem occurs – and it can be done for mere pennies a day.
What choices do i have?
Having clean arteries requires a combination of factors and actions. Some people have a predisposition toward high cholesterol levels, so prevention and treatment by “natural methods” is challenging. As we get older, our arteries become less flexible. If you have diabetes, you have an elevated likelihood of having vascular problems. Even with these challenges, there is still much that can be done to keep your arteries clean. Let’s take a look at what you can do, today:
1. Get regular aerobic exercise. Check with your health care provider first before implementing an exercise program or if you are taking prescription medications. This aids flexibility of your body, including your blood vessels. It prevents stagnation of the tissues and helps you to obtain or maintain a healthy weight.
2. Eat healthy fat foods such as olive, canola and coconut oil. Do not reuse oil for cooking. Avocadoes are a great source of healthy fat. Eat only lean meats if you eat meat. Meat from grass-fed or from wild animals is best. Or, eat a primarily plant-based diet rich in whole grains. Eat a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods.
3. Include lots of fiber in your diet. There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. An inexpensive source of healthy soluble fiber is oat bran. Three grams of oat bran, the amount in a normal breakfast serving, consumed regularly may reduce cholesterol levels by 10-25 percent. Insoluble fiber, in the form of ground flax seeds, aids the digestive tract and liver in its ability to rid the body of excess cholesterol. Consume a minimum of 35 grams of fiber each day.
4. If you smoke, stop. Smoking causes narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels.
5. If you are overweight, take off some pounds. Even a 10 percent drop in weight can reduce your risk of cardiovascular illness dramatically. This can reduce your blood glucose levels, as well.
6. Learn to manage stress. Get sleep. Say “no” to others if they place too many demands on you. Stress causes reduces flexibility of blood vessels and releases compounds into your bloodstream which have negative effects.
7. Eat a handful of nuts each day. They reduce food cravings and contain healthy compounds which protect your blood vessels. Compounds in nuts improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. They prevent the formation of clots. Walnuts and sesame seeds are exceptionally healthy.
8. Have a glass of red wine. Red wine reduces oxidative stress, which ages us. It reduces the proportion of unhealthy cholesterol in the body. Red wine reduces inflammation, one of the major factors which causes blood vessels to “clog.”
9. Try niacin. Niacin opens up blood vessels, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and clot-producing factors in the blood.
10. Consider supplementation with policosanol. Policosanol lowers LDL cholesterol levels, improves the smoothness of arterial linings, and prevents blood clots. Other supplements to consider include a good quality multivitamin/ mineral, grape seed or pine bark extract, and fish, krill or flaxseed oil.