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Heart Health: Does Saturated Fat Clog Arteries?

May 21, 2010

Contrary to popular belief amongst heart health enthusiasts, saturated fat does not clog arteries. If you're curious about what can clog your arteries, however, read on to learn the basics.

Bad Cholesterol Buildup

Bad cholesterol, commonly referred to as "low density lipoprotein," is among the leading causes of clogged arteries. When your body produces optimum levels of good cholesterol, or "high density lipoprotein," bad cholesterol is cleared from your arterial walls and exits your bloodstream through your liver. Alternatively, when your body is low on good cholesterol, its bad cholesterol levels shoot up, effectively clogging the arterial walls and paving the way for poor heart health, stroke, heart attack and assorted types of disease.

Fortunately, keeping your body's bad cholesterol levels in check is fairly simple. If you engage in regular exercise and eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, you shouldn't have to worry about falling victim to cholesterol-laden arteries.

Arterial Plaque Buildup

Artery-based plaque, which is composed of cholesterol, calcium and fat, is another common cause of clogged arteries and poor heart health. While everyone has some amount of plaque in their bodies--and by extension, their arteries--excess amounts of arterial plaque often leads to disease, stroke or heart attack. Plaque is particularly notorious for causing coronary artery disease.

It's impossible to completely prevent the formation of arterial plaque, but eating properly, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are the best steps you can take in combating arterial plaque buildup. In addition, controlling your stress levels can go a long way in staving off arterial plaque.

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