A high volume of solid fats in your diet can change your blood cholesterol and arterial structure to create plaque buildup. This dangerous condition, called atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries, can block blood flow to your organs. High blood pressure caused by a dietary imbalance of sodium and potassium from eating too many salty foods makes atherosclerosis more likely. Addressing both of these nutritional problems with a low-fat, low-sodium eating plan can lower your blood pressure and reverse the development of atherosclerosis.
Reversal of Plaque Formation
A low-fat diet is among the eating plans reported to aid in reducing high blood pressure and reversing fatty plaque buildup in the carotid artery. The journal “Circulation” revealed that a 2010 study recorded a halt and reversal of atherosclerosis after a two-year dietary treatment in overweight patients with high blood pressure. When these subjects lost weight and lowered their blood pressure, their arterial blockages broke up and their health improved. The low-fat, low-sodium diet suggested by the American Heart Association can help you achieve these results.
Reduction in Dietary Solid Fat
Solid fats that include saturated and trans fats and cholesterol can make you gain weight, and they contain the fatty elements that form arterial plaque. To discourage plaque buildup, consume low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Eat fish and beans more often than meats and poultry to reduce fat and cholesterol. Eat less liver, eggs and shellfish, which are low in fat but high in cholesterol. The AHA recommends removing fat from meat and skin from chicken and turkey, and roasting or grilling them rather than cooking with butter or deep-frying with oil.
Restoration of Mineral Balance
Losing weight will help you reduce your blood pressure, but you will probably have to adjust your intake of sodium and potassium as well. These two minerals affect your blood pressure, which rises when you get more sodium than potassium. To restore your mineral balance, the AHA suggests consuming less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day and eating more vegetables and fruits, which are good sources of potassium. You can stay within healthy sodium boundaries by eating foods with less added salt, such as fresh rather than canned or otherwise processed meats, fish, vegetables and prepared entrees.
Halting and reversing atherosclerotic plaque blockages can save your life. When damaged arteries bleed, blood clots can form, break away and suddenly clog a blood vessel. Fatty deposits can gradually build until an artery is fully blocked. When the blood flow to the heart, brain, kidney or other organs stops, you can suffer heart attack, stroke or vital organ failure that may be fatal. Work to prevent these medical emergencies with a simple change of diet.
- “Circulation”; Dietary Intervention to Reverse Carotid Atherosclerosis; Iris Shai, et al.; March 2010
- American Heart Association; Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations; May 2010
- American Heart Association; How Do I Follow a Healthy Diet?; June 2011
- Merck Manual Home Health Handbook; Atherosclerosis; January 2008