No one doubts that food has a big impact on our health, but some foods can have surprising side effects. There are many foods that will help you avoid clogged arteries, and this is the first article in our series about them.

Skip the soda

Different kinds of soda makes people gain weight, elevate blood sugars, develop diabetes, and suffer premature heart blockages. The elevated blood sugar can coat proteins and fats, turning them into harmful substances that can damage arteries.

Harvard researches followed 40,000 doctors and 88,000 nurses for twenty years, and the findings are stunning. Women who consume two or more sugary drinks every day are 40 percent more likely to develop heart problems than women who drink less. Men who drink a lot of soda are 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t drink soda.

It’s hard to change habits. Start with swapping one soft drink a day for iced tea or water. Drink less and less soda until you reach zero.

Choose vegetables

Plant foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.
Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, and some vegetables like bell peppers and asparagus are rich in vitamin B – which can help lower an amino acid linked to heart disease.

People who eat eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day are 30 percent less likely to have a stroke or heart attack than people who eat 1.5 servings.

Eat leafy greens

While most vegetables are good for the body, some are even more so. Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and kale are rich in nitrates. This converts to nitric oxide in the body, which helps arteries resist blood coagulation and plaque, protecting against heart attacks and stroke. These vegetables also lower blood pressure.

Have a cup of tea

Tea of all kinds – black, green, and oolong – all halt heart disease. They block cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Aim for three cups a day. If you’re not already a tea drinker, start with one cup a day, and once you get into that habit add another, and later another.
Add some extra spice

Adding spices is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to protect the heart. Many herbs and spices contain protective chemicals, and they are medicine for the human body. Garlic, for instance, improves cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure, and protects the heart. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, and cinnamon can help keep blood sugar at healthy levels.

If you don’t naturally use a lot of spices in your food, consider buying some apple pie spice – it contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and more – and sprinkle it on oatmeal, fruit, coffee, or whatever else you like to eat where it fits.

Eat fish

Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, correct problems with heart rhythm, and adjust high blood pressure. The Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in certain types of fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel.

In today’s world it is important to consider where the fish comes from – some areas and types of fish have high concentrations of mercury and other pollutions.

Have a cup of coffee

This might sound counter-productive, but black coffee is actually surprisingly healthy. Caffeine is an antioxidant, and a cup of coffee has the ability to lower blood pressure. That is, coffee without cream and artificial sweeteners. It’s possible to overdo it, of course, so try to limit yourself to four cups a day, and if coffee gives you the jitters, have a cup of tea instead.

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