High cholesterol is one of the biggest health problems of today. It affects millions of people regardless of age or gender, and can contribute towards serious cardiovascular problems.
The arteries are blood vessels that are responsible for transporting blood rich with oxygen from the heart to other body parts. Normal arteries are strong and elastic, but they can be affected by accumulation of plaque in the arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis and is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease around the world.
If your coronary arteries are clogged, the condition is known as coronary heart disease. In this case, plaque blocks the proper arterial blood flow and the heart gets insufficient amounts of blood, resulting in chest pain or angina. The chest pain can travel to the jaw, arms, neck, shoulders or back, and may resemble indigestion. Angina may be triggered by emotional stress as well, and may be accompanied by arrhythmia or shortness of breath.
Carotid artery disease occurs when the brain arteries are clogged. This is a serious problem which may lead to a stroke. The symptoms of the disease include weakness, headaches, loss of consciousness, trouble speaking, blurred vision, dizziness and loss of focus.
If the arteries in your kidneys are blocked, it can lead towards kidney disease and loss of proper kidney function. In the beginning, there may be no symptoms at all, but as the disease progresses, it can cause loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, numbness and itchiness in the limbs.
Peripheral artery disease is caused by blocked arm, leg or pelvic arteries which may cause numbness and pain in the limbs.
What makes the arteries clogged?
Atherosclerosis is a term which describes hardened and thickened arteries. There’s a thin layer of endothelial cells that keeps the arteries smooth and toned and allows proper blood flow as well. However, factors such as increased homocysteine levels, free radicals and toxins can damage these cells and the integrity of the arteries, resulting in accumulation of plaque.
The usual treatment for high cholesterol levels includes taking statins or other type of cholesterol-lowering drugs, but the problem can also be treated by consuming a diet that contains the following foods:
Turmeric is a popular spice that has been used in Ayurveda medicine for centuries. The active compound in the spice is curcumin, a polyphenol that can prevent cardiovascular diseases and reduce the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. According to a 2011 study, turmeric can reduce cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis, while another study showed that it can also prevent arterial damage.
Ginger is another healthy spice that can clean your arteries naturally. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound and contains shogaols and gingerols, two cardioprotective compounds which can reduce the amount of total cholesterol.
Garlic is definitely among the top of the list of nature’s superfoods. Several studies have shown that garlic can prevent heart disease, reduce blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis, while also preventing the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.
Cayenne pepper is rich in capsaicin, a compound which can reduce LDL cholesterol and cut down the risk of heart attack and stroke. Capsaicin has also been found to prevent pulmonary and vascular complications caused by HAART (highly-active antiretroviral therapy) drugs.
Drinking lemon water in the morning is the best way to improve your overall health. Lemon can reduce your cholesterol levels and prevent oxidative damage in the body, and the high content of vitamin C can reinforce the arteries and reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Cinnamon is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that can reduce a number of risk factors associated with heart disease and atherosclerosis. According to a study from 2003, taking 1, 3 or 6 gr. of cinnamon powder a day can reduce your LDL cholesterol, glucose and total cholesterol in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Flaxseeds are great for our heart health – they are rich in essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids as well as alpha-linoleic acid, a compound which can reduce inflammation and blood pressure.
Kimchi is a type of Korean fermented cabbage and hot pepper combination that can easily slow down atherosclerosis.
Sesame seeds are one of the best natural ingredients against blocked arteries. There’s a lot of evidence that suggests they can prevent the progression of the condition thanks to the fatty acid content.
Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants and punicic acid that can prevent the accumulation of plaque, unclog arteries and prevent atherosclerosis.