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Accumulation of plaque (or excess cholesterol) in the arteries leads to clogged arteries. Narrowing of the path results in restricted blood flow and the corresponding tissues receive less blood and oxygen. Medically, this condition is known as atherosclerosis. Lack of blood and oxygen to the heart can affect the function of the heart seriously. Deprivation of vitamin C can lead to atherosclerosis. Vitamin C deficiency causes breakages and cracks in the arteries and the body is compelled to use cholesterol to patch these wounds. When the cholesterol hardens and settles down in the arteries, the clogged artery symptoms that eventually lead to cardiovascular diseases are noticed.

Every year, nearly 4,05,000 coronary angioplasties are performed in the U.S. to help people fight the problem of blocked arteries. You might be surprised to know that nearly 5,00,000 bypass heart surgeries are performed in the U.S. every year. These surgeries can have severe side effects like neurological complications, stroke, etc., besides being too expensive. The failure rate of the surgeries is also high. Failures may demand another angioplasty, stent placement or even another bypass surgery. And, the root cause of the disease is not eliminated by these surgeries as they do nothing to change the gradual accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Everyone is aware of the life-threatening effects of heart diseases. One can easily guess the angioplasty risks. As the arteries can again be clogged with fatty material, it is always better to opt for natural remedies that help clean the arteries. Cholesterol lowering diet, skillful management of stress and regular exercise help clean arteries naturally. These are the natural ways to clear your arteries. Although they are easy to follow, they involve significant lifestyle changes.

Diet Control

Vitamins: As explained above, vitamin C plays an important role in the health of the arteries. Vitamin E also helps strengthen the walls of the arteries. It helps lower inflammation of the walls. Sunflower seeds or Swiss chard are the common examples of vitamin E rich food. Niacin, which is commonly known as Vitamin B3, works great for heart diseases. Certain natural supplements help dissolve plaque while garlic tablets, vitamin E and vitamin K supplements, fish oil supplements, etc., help keep arteries at their top state of health.

Balanced Diet: You should reduce the quantity of meat in your diet as it contains large amounts of fat and cholesterol. Foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils should be avoided. You should not include vegetable oil, fried and fast food (to avoid saturated fat) in your diet. You should stay away from crackers, sweetened drinks, juices, pastries, cookies, etc. You may include skinless chicken, lean white meat, but you need to check the portion. Foods rich in unsaturated fat like fish, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, olive oil and canola oil can help clean the arteries off plaque and so can be consumed. A high fiber diet which includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain products like whole-grain breads and cereals, air-popped popcorn, steel-cut oatmeal, pearled barley, legumes, dried beans, etc. can lower blood cholesterol levels. Apples, onions, citrus fruits, avocados, corn, a small amount of dark chocolate per day, etc. provide necessary vitamins and nutrients that help clear the arteries. And, you should drink plenty of water (at least, 7-8 glasses every day) if you are really worried about how to clean arteries naturally.

Plant Sterols and Stanols: Some of the common examples of foods rich in plant sterols and stanols are brown rice, whole wheat, nuts, pumpkin seeds and vegetables like, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, Brussels sprouts, etc. They help lower the cholesterol levels. These days, a number of food products, fortified with plant stanols and sterols are available in market. These nutrients help maintain the health of the arteries.

Home Remedies: Green tea helps prevent unnecessary clotting of blood. The procyanidins from apples and the pectin from grapefruits help clean the path of blood, naturally. Olive oil, especially, extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar help lower the levels of cholesterol in blood. Fish oil and garlic, if consumed daily can enhance blood circulation through the arteries. Certain herbs (like Arjuna, an Ayurvedic medicine) help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: You should consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (especially cold water fish like albacore tuna, halibut, herring, salmon, etc.), as they help prevent blood clotting and oxidization of cholesterol. The lycopene present in tomatoes also prevents oxidation of cholesterol. By including these foods in your regular diet, you can keep the arteries clean.

Stress Management

Modern lifestyle usually generates stress which leads to hormone imbalance. Meditation and yoga help maintain the hormonal balance and help lower anxiety and anger. In short, they help manage stress. Hormone imbalance often results in excess fat and obesity and thus, increases the chances of clogged arteries. Stress relieving pills prescribed by doctors can lower the effects of stress on health; but they may have side effects. Alcoholic drinks can increase your daily calorie intake substantially and can affect your overall health. Smoking destroys the health of the arteries. So, you should quit smoking. Natural ways of relaxation are always better.

Physical Exercise

Moderate cardiovascular exercises like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, jogging or aerobic exercises, dancing, etc. help dissolve the unwanted plaque in the arteries. You should increase your physical activity and burn as many calories as possible. Regular exercise helps reduce the level of bad cholesterol and raises the level of good cholesterol, which again helps destroy the plaque inside the arteries.

On a concluding note, a balanced diet can help clean blood vessels naturally. All you need to do is make the right lifestyle choices to enjoy the benefits of improved blood circulation.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.