Your arteries are the largest blood vessels in your body, and they play an important role in delivering oxygen and nutrients to every organ, tissue, and cell. So to say that keeping these vital channels at their peak is vital to your health would be a bit of an understatement.
But millions of Americans suffer from unhealthy arteries. They have an inflammatory disease called atherosclerosis – a build-up of plaque (a fatty build-up of cholesterol and other substances) in the arteries that can block normal blood flow and lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. By some estimates, atherosclerosis accounts for 50% of all deaths in Western society, and is the underlying cause of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
The good news: There are many things you can do, diet-wise, to reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and even eliminate the plaque that’s already there.
What causes plaque in the arteries?
A common misconception about arterial plaque (atherosclerosis) is that it is primarily caused by high levels of LDL cholesterol. But this area of thinking is evolving, and Dr. Ford Brewer, MD, MPH, board-certified specialist in preventive and occupational medicine, says it’s only a small part of the picture.