Your arteries are always ready to clean out the accumulated plaque provided you ‘allow’ them to do so. You will stop this natural healing process if you continue to indulge in too much of fried food, desserts, drink alcohol and continue to smoke. The arteries are blood vessels that transport oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. For the process to occur normally, the arteries should be strong, elastic and clear of any deposits. Ideally, we should all follow healthy lifestyles that minimise the likelihood of plaque build up.
What is plaque?
Plaque is nothing but deposits of cholesterol, calcium, fats and cellular waste products that gradually build up in arteries injured by inflammatory changes. As plaques of cholesterol block arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle gradually, fat, cells, and debris, the heart muscle starves for oxygen.
But there are natural means by which one can ensure plaque-free arteries. Diet, exercise and supplements are three areas you need to focus on to help you cleanse your arteries.
A good eating regime is the first way to keep your arteries healthy. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fibre-rich foods and fish like salmon, mackerel (bangda) and sardines. (See box for details)
Dietary supplements can help you clean your arteries and keep them healthy. They also help maintain the flexibility, as well as elasticity of the arteries, which help ensure good blood flow.
Coenzyme Q10: It improves
oxygen supply to the heart while supporting heart function and muscle strength.
Fish oil supplements: Fish oil is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids. There are studies that link low plaque built-up with omega-3 fatty acids.
Garlic: Garlic has been used since years for its ability for lowering risk of heart diseases.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E has an ability to reduce existing plaque, while also helping to prevent or reduce blood clots.
No healthy diet and nutrient supplementation will work unless it’s supplemented with healthy dose of exercise. As the blood parameters improve so does the health of arteries, which begin to cleanse themselves naturally.
Start off by engaging in physical activity that you enjoy, for example, swimming, jogging dancing etc. Start with 15 minutes and gradually build up the time and pace.
Incorporate the above suggestions in your daily routine. Even a small change in your dietary regime brings about major change in your state of health.
Dr. Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition-counselling centre