Keep Your Arteries Plaque-Free with Heart Healthy Foods

Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of fatalities every year, affecting men and women alike. Many who have suffered from heart disease have had to undergo bypass surgery due to plaque buildup, which a healthier lifestyle could have prevented. But while regular exercise and proper weight management are both important, these are not enough. A diet rich in heart healthy foods is also essential in keeping your cardiovascular system plaque-free.

Understanding Plaque Buildup

Plaque accumulation or buildup occurs in the inner lining of the arteries, or the part of the cardiovascular system that leads blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Cholesterol, specifically low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol," slowly accumulates along the inner walls of the arteries, eventually blocking blood flow. The process of plaque buildup is called "atherosclerosis" or the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. As cholesterol plaque builds up in your arteries, you increase the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

What causes plaque buildup? Aside from the types of food we eat, mechanical stress in the arteries results in the accumulation of plaque. Our arteries are hard at work delivering blood to the entire body as they open and close every time the heart beats. The closer they are to the heart, however, the harder they have to work. This leads to mechanical stress which, in turn, can cause tears along the inner walls of the arteries.

Normally, the body will just heal these tiny lesions on its own to prevent the arteries from leaking. Collagen, a type of structural protein that the body produces, is used to repair damaged arteries. Without the proper nutrients, however, the body won't be able to produce the collagen it needs to provide the necessary repairs.

What happens is that the body does the next best thing. It takes certain sticky substances that are floating in the bloodstream and creates a patch to cover the lesion (like a scab) to prevent the arteries from leaking. Over time, the patch grows thicker and thicker leading to plaque buildup. Those who don’t get the proper nutrition from their daily diet won't be able to provide their bodies with the nutrients needed to properly heal their arteries and prevent the accumulation of plaque.

Heart Healthy Foods for Plaque-Free Arteries

With the right nutrients, you can provide your body with what it needs to produce collagen for proper arterial repair. One essential nutrient for collagen synthesis is Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is necessary for the normal growth and repair of ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and the skin, which is why it is a vital nutrient for helping the body heal wounds. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C also prevents oxidative damage to blood vessels caused by free radicals in the bloodstream.

Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are high in Vitamin C, though other fruits and vegetables including dark leafy greens, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, and papayas are also rich sources of this nutrient. By supplementing your diet with foods that unclog the arteries, you can boost your cardiovascular system and keep it in good shape.

Another nutrient that helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke is Omega-3, which is found in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol—the raw material for arterial plaque buildup. Fish such as tuna, anchovies, mackerel, and wild salmon are heart healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Heart Health Supplements from Save Your Heart

For an optimal daily dose of nutrients for heart health, Save Your Heart offers the Pauling Therapy Essentials Formula complete with the all essential nutrients you need, not just vitamin C, to support your heart. We also offer omega-3 supplements to keep your arteries free of dangerous plaque. Contact us at 1-800-77-HEART (1-800-774-3278) to learn more about our heart health supplements.