Is there a diet for blocked arteries? While there is no specific diet that offers meal plans or recipes, following certain dietary guidelines can definitely improve artery health. Proper diet can be effective in treating blocked arteries and it may help to prevent atherosclerosis.
Hardening of the Arteries
Atherosclerosis is a medical condition in which the arteries narrow and harden. Fatty plaque builds up in blood vessel walls, eventually accumulating enough to interfere with proper blood flow. Often referred to as hardening of the arteries, the condition can cause serious health problems including:
- Heart attack
- Peripheral vascular disease
When these conditions combine, they create cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Dietary interventions may help alleviate the problem and potentially prevent further damage.
A study funded by the General Mills Company suggests that eating vegetables can help prevent atherosclerosis, as may be evidenced in clinical trails with mice bred specifically for the study.
The mice had high levels of LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein). Half of the mice were given a diet that consisted of 30 percent vegetables and the other half received no vegetables at all. The vegetables used in the study were freeze-dried:
- Green beans
The diet continued for each group in the study for 16 weeks. Researchers found that mice that had 30 percent vegetable intake had lower cholesterol levels and body weight. Their blood vessels contained 38 percent less plaque than the ones in the vegetable-free group.
The clinical trials indicate that simply adding a healthy percentage of vegetables in a diet can help prevent buildup of plaques in blood vessels. The study finds vegetables to be helpful foods.
Is There a Diet for Blocked Arteries
A few resources offer heart healthy diets that are of great benefit. As the study indicates, vegetables are an important part of the eating plan. Some suggest that raw food is the key to improving cardiovascular health, offering an ultra-natural approach to keeping blockage in the arteries from forming.
Other factors are important to consider as well. Many people who have blocked arteries also have weight problems. A diet for overweight heart patients can be helpful in reducing body fat while preventing plaque from building in the blood vessels.
The cardiac diet is a great example of a heart healthy eating plan that focuses on getting more fiber-rich foods including fruits and vegetables while reducing intake of unhealthy fats. The healthy eating plan does not suggest removing all fat from the diet. In fact, some fats can help reduce cholesterol levels and blocked arteries.
Fruits and vegetables are obvious choices for heart healthy diets but fats are surprising additions to the eating plan. Polyunsaturated fats found in whole grains and fish offer many healthful benefits but monounsaturated fats are of particular interest for a diet for blocked arteries. Monounsaturated fats found in nuts, olive oil and dark chocolate can help reduce cholesterol, belly fat, and plaque build up in the arteries.
Healthy Eating Guidelines
While there is no specific diet for clogged arteries, following healthy eating guidelines can make a significant difference in cardiovascular health. Consider some of the following guidelines offered by Web MD for a heart healthy diet:
- Increase intake of
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fish and lean protein
- Limit intake of
- Saturated and trans fats
- Fatty proteins
The guidelines are quite familiar to many people, but how do you create a viable eating plan that incorporates these elements? Some options include:
- American Heart Association Diet
- Cholesterol Lowering Diet
- Diet for Lowering Cholesterol
- Diet to Lower Triglycerides
- Flat Belly Diet
- High Blood Pressure Diet
The first step in determining which approach is best for you is to discuss the options with a physician. Your doctor can offer additional recommendations for a healthy eating plan catered to your specific needs.
Improving cardiovascular health involves more than eating right. Answering the question is there a diet for blocked arteries? is difficult because the process is not limited to the types of food you eat. Lifestyle habits, including smoking, sleep hygiene, and exercise are important factors to consider as well.