Can you really eat your way to better heart health? Get the facts here.
According to the NY Daily News, artery-cleaning foods like the fiber powder Artinia are set to become the next big health trend, with new food products promising to help clean out your arteries with every bite.
But is this trend really good for you? And can it, as these products claim, really help clean out your arteries?
"Truly, there are no foods that will 'clear out' a diseased artery," says Jonathan Fialkow, MD, FACC, a board certified lipidologist and cardiologist in Miami, Florida. "To think that a particular food—eaten in addition to other foods—may clear arteries is simplistic and consistent with 'magical' thinking. For now, we cannot take someone with bad blockages and return the artery to its normal, healthy state."
Dr. Fialkow does admit however, that nutrition is a major component of vascular disease. "By eliminating certain foods that may promote vascular inflammation and substituting those foods with others that may inhibit inflammation, we may improve arterial disease. With certain dietary changes and medicines, we can remove the cholesterol/lipid content of an artery wall and create a smoother, stronger, more stable wall—one that is less likely to rip and develop a blood clot, which causes a heart attack."
Dr. Fialkow says foods high in omega-3 fats such as salmon, almonds, and avocado are most effective at lipid clearing. And while these new 'artery-clearing' food products may have benefits similar to high-fiber foods (they prevent the absorption of sugars and satisfy your hunger), they may not be able to completely control cholesterol levels. "I am certain, that this product will not prevent the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, but it may decrease LDL oxidation in the same manner as high-fiber foods," Dr. Fialkow says. While these products may have some benefits, why not focus instead on consuming more natural, whole foods that help keep your arteries healthy by reducing inflammation and fat storage and provide you with the healthy vitamins and minerals your body needs at the same time.
A friendly reminder: Don't expect food alone to fix other unhealthy habits. "You can't eat "bad" foods, smoke, be sedentary, have high blood pressure or diabetes, and then eat a particular food and expect its benefits to offset the progressive risks of the other factors," Dr. Fialkow says.
The bottom line? While these products may offer some benefits, whole foods can do the same with a lot more nutritional advantages. In fact, we found 20 natural foods proven to help protect your ticker. Check them out here!