Arteries are blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to different tissues throughout the body. Each artery is a muscular tube consisting of three layers:
- The intima (the inner layer)
- The media (a layer of muscle that handles the high pressure from the heart)
- The adventitia (the connective tissue that links arteries to nearby tissues)
The largest artery is the aorta. It has a network of smaller arteries, known as arterioles and capillaries, which extend throughout the body. Healthy arteries have smooth inner walls and blood flows through them easily.
However, when plaque builds up on the inner walls, the arteries become clogged and inhibit blood flow. Plaque is made of different substances that circulate in the blood like fat, cholesterol, calcium, cellular waste, and fibrin.
People who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) have a higher risk of developing clogged arteries. Other risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.
Clogged or blocked arteries can lead to different health problems like coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and cerebrovascular accident (stroke).
Keeping your arteries healthy and free of blockage is very important. You can do this by following a healthy lifesyle and eating healthy foods. Many foods are particularly beneficial for maintaining clean, unclogged arteries and improving your heart health.
Here are the top 10 artery-cleansing superfoods.