Heart disease is the world’s deadliest killer in men and women. People dying of heart attacks and stroke are getting younger by the year; it’s scary. Right now you have to face the reality that diet is a big contributor to this problem. Unhealthy foods can cause arteries to be clogged with plaque, and lead to hypertension and obesity – both risk factors for heart disease. Whether you’re in your 20’s or 40’s, it is never too late. Here are 25 heart-healthy foods that naturally clear your arteries:
1. Dark Chocolate
Who says you have to skip this treat for a healthy heart? Dark chocolate is made up of 60 to 70 percent pure cocoa goodness. Raw cocoa is loaded with flavonols which make blood vessels more elastic and prevent arteries from getting clogged. Cocoa is also full of antioxidants and is proven to lower your risk of hypertension and heart disease.
Coffee drinkers have excellent reason to celebrate their caffeine addiction. A study from the Netherlands shows drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee a day reduces it can reduce your risk for heart disease by an astounding 20 percent. However, experts advise drinking coffee in moderation. Caffeine is a stimulant that temporarily causes irregular heartbeats and increased blood pressure. For people with existing heart problems, both can be dangerous.
Citrus fruits such as oranges are heavy in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Together, these nutrients strengthen blood vessels and prevent oxidative damage. Oranges contain pectin, a fiber that absorbs cholesterol in food and keeps them from blocking arteries in the first place. If you’re fond of eating salty foods, the potassium-rich orange can help balance it out and regulate your blood pressure.
You wouldn’t believe it, but these tiny red berries are stuffed with antioxidants. Eating them regularly or drinking at least two cups of pure cranberry juice a day lowers your chances of heart disease by up to 40 percent. Cranberries prevent plaque from building up in the arteries in two ways: it decreases the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol in your body. Aside from cranberries, you can have strawberries and blueberries for dessert. The potassium in berries dilates blood vessels and prevents hypertension at the same time.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts are an excellent way to clear your arteries. For every handful serving, you get plenty of monounsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association says these healthy fats prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering the LDL cholesterol in your blood. Not only that, nuts can help if you’re trying to lose weight! Snack on them between meals and you’ll be able to stave off cravings due to their high protein.