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5 Foods that Help Avoid Atherosclerosis

May 23, 2010

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol, calcium and biochemical waste are deposited as plaques on the inner wall of your blood vessel, causing vessel walls to thicken and become rigid. Because plaque formation restricts blood flow and makes your vessels much more brittle, atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of most strokes and heart attacks. Fortunately, you can prevent and treat atherosclerosis  through a low fat and predominantly vegan diet:

1. Deep Sea Fish

Unlike animal fat which can raise your blood fat, fish oil is highly valued for its cholesterol removing ability. Omega-3 fish oil supplements are just isolated forms of fish fat from fatty deep sea fish like salmon and tuna and are reputed for lowering high cholesterol and preventing heart diseases. Omega-3 is also credited for increasing the high density lipoproteins (HDL) in your blood. HDL act as vessel cleaners and pick up cholesterol and fat deposits for elimination and reprocessing in your liver. Eating fish not only supplies you with high doses of omega-3, it also gives you an abundance of other nutrients like niacin and vitamin B6 which can also reduce your triglyceride and LDLs. 

2. Soy

Replacing whole dairy with soy milk is an effectively step in treating high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Soy is rich in monounsaturated and poly unsaturated fatty acids, which can block the transport of dietary and synthesized cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soy also contains high levels of plant estrogen, which can inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in your liver. In addition, soy is an excellent source of vitamin K, niacin, vitamin B6 and a variety of antioxidants which not only lower cholesterol, but also suppress inflammatory responses which also contributes to atherosclerosis.

3. Almonds

Almonds contain a high concentration of monounsaturated fat as well as one of the most active fat-soluble antioxidants, vitamin E. Vitamin E not only helps with the elimination of cholesterol and prevents inflammation, it also increases the flexibility and fluidity of your blood vessels so that they respond well to any change of pressure. Research has confirmed almonds' ability to raising HDL and lowering LDL. One study has found that if you eat about 3 ounces of almonds a day, you can reduce your LDL by approximately 10% and raise your HDL by up to 5%.

4. Oatmeal

Having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast can effectively defend you from atherosclerosis and other heart diseases. Oatmeal contains high amounts of soluble fiber, which can lower blood cholesterol. Fortified oatmeal is even better for heart disease prevention. Fortified oatmeal contains an extra dose of B vitamins, including niacin and vitamin B6, which contribute to cholesterol reduction.

5. Red Wine

The skins of red and black grapes contain high amount of resveratrol, which can lower blood pressure and reduce vascular damage. Resveratrol also has cholesterol reduction and anti-platelet functions, and these functions are most potent when grapes are fermented into alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking one glass of red wine per day can effectively reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.

 

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