cloggedarteries1. Leg Pain and Numbness: Pain or numbness in the calves while you walk can mean clogged arteries. Another feature of this condition is relief from said pain and numbness when you put your feet up to rest, also called intermittent claudication.

2. Erectile Dysfunction: A lot of studies have proven that erectile dysfunction in men can be an indicator of an impending cardiovascular disease. If you can't get it up when you normally could, it might be time to find an underlying cause instead of pinning the whole thing on mood and popping a blue pill.

3. Hair Loss: Losing hair, while it's regularly attributed to aging, may also mean high levels of triglycerides in the blood stream. High triglycerides or bad fat in the blood stream can be impeding proper circulation, which may cause baldness in both men and women.

4. Earlobe Crease: A diagonal earlobe crease, (abbreviated to DEC), isn't a definite sign of clogged arteries. You could just as easily be born with it. However, along with other indicators like age, weight, and gender, studies show that it's associated with a higher risk factor for "coronary artery calcification," a medical term for clogged heart vessels.

Paying attention to these signs and taking the concerns to a health professional right away could even save your life, since clogged arteries are directly related to cardiovascular (heart) disease.

BEST FOODS TO PREVENT CLOGGED ARTERIES:
Prevention is always better than cure, as they say, and these modifications to your diet can help you avoid clogged arteries and heart disease altogether.

Say goodbye to soda: All sugar-sweetened beverages are linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and significantly elevated cholesterol deposits. All these conditions lead to arterial inflammation, hardening, or clogging. Cut soda and artificially-flavored beverages out of your daily diet altogether and you'll no doubt see a positive change in your health.

A realistic take on taking away sugar-sweetened beverages out of your diet is a gradual decrease. Swap one sugary drink for a glass of water or 100% fruit juice weekly, until it's completely eliminated daily. If it's sweet, and it's not natural, it has to go.

Tea
Consider replacing unhealthy soda with healthy tea instead. Flavonols and anthocyanins found in black, purple and oolong teas have been found by researchers to protect the heart and blood vessels.  Tea can also lower blood pressure and prevent hardening and plaque buildup in the arteries. The daily target is three cups a day, so consider switching your late afternoon cup of coffee with tea instead.

Vegetables and Fruits
Virtually all organic produce have clinically proven benefits for the human body. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the main source of vitamins and antioxidants that the cells in our body use to protect itself. Vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins from bok choy, asparagus, and bell peppers, and Vitamin C from tomatoes and carrots have nutrients that the body can use right away.

8 or more servings of veggies and fruits per day contributes to a 30% decreased risk of suffering a brain or heart attack, while eating more than 5 servings lowered the risk for coronary heart disease by 17%. You might have an easier time transitioning your diet to a healthier one by replacing one portion of a meal with fruits and vegetables. Gradually increase the servings per week until you get about 8 to 12 servings. Recent studies have shown that variety is just as important as quantity, so make sure to switch up the recipes once in a while.

Leafy Greens
Lettuce, parsley, cabbage, radishes, and collard greens may directly affect arteries by relaxing blood vessels and clearing plaque formations. Research shows that the nitrate in a bowl of these leafy greens makes your blood pressure drop for the rest of the day.  Add leaves to everything that you can think of; sandwiches, soups, make vegetable wraps, shakes and smoothies with them.

Herbs and spices
Italian seasoning, allspice, nutmeg, basil, cinnamon, granulated garlic, and most of the spices in the kitchen rack may be good for the cardiovascular system, including of course the arteries. A study conducted by researchers in Pennsylvania State University found that bad cholesterol in the blood decreased by as much as 30% just by adding 6 g of cinnamon to the subjects' daily diet.

Added benefits, such as what the spices do to the eliminated fat, is still being researched, but adding a bit more spice to your next meat and vegetable barbecue wouldn't hurt. Adding cinnamon to your coffee, tea, or apple slices is a fine dessert idea too.

Omega-3 Rich Fish
To date, there's no fat healthier for the heart like omega-3, found in abundance in fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring. Omega-3 helps eliminate arterial blocks and improve cardiovascular health.

References:

[1] What is Peripheral Arterial Disease? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad

[2] A Systematic Review of the Association Between Erectile Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Disease. European Urology. http://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838%2813%2900851-8/fulltext/a-systematic-review-of-the-association-between-erectile-dysfunction-and-cardiovascular-disease

[3] A Comparative Study of Dyslipidaemia in Men and Women with Androgenic Alopecia. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mjl/adv/2010/00000090/00000005/art00009

[4] Abstract 19064: Association of Diagonal Earlobe Crease With Traditional Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Coronary Artery Calcification in the General Population: Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/130/Suppl_2/A19064.short

[5] Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Cardiovascular Disease. Current Nutrition Reports. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13668-012-0013-3

[6] Flavanols and Anthocyanins in Cardiovascular Health: A Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/11/4/1679/pdf

[7] Cardiovascular diseases: oxidative damage and antioxidant protection. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. http://www.europeanreview.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/3091-3096.pdf

[8] Quantity and variety in fruit and vegetable intake and risk of coronary heart disease. American Society for Nutrition. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/10/02/ajcn.113.066381.full.pdf

[9] Suppression of erythropoiesis by dietary nitrate. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2014/11/23/fj.14-263004.abstract?sid=58e73111-4b5f-4fe6-a39b-c3aab313ef43

[10] Spices and Herbs May Improve Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Nutrition Today. http://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Citation/2014/09001/Spices_and_Herbs_May_Improve_Cardiovascular_Risk.6.aspx

[11] Fish 101. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Fish-101_UCM_305986_Article.jsp#

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