Hardened Arteries

Arteriosclerosis

Some hardening of the arteries occurs normally as we age. Cigarette smoke greatly aggravates and speeds up the growth of atherosclerosis (fatty deposits leading to artery wall damage) in the coronary arteries of the heart, the biggest artery in the body, the aorta, and the arteries of the legs. We generally think that arterial plaques are due to high fat and high cholesterol diets. In reality, it’s thought that the plaques are due to damage to the arteries. Common causes of damage include high blood pressure, high sugar diet, antioxidant deficiencies, stress, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and others. If the wall of the artery is damaged then the body will try to repair it using cholesterol as the body’s “duct tape”.

To reduce damage to the arteries, Naturopathic Doctors will commonly recommend implementing anti-oxidant rich diets and supplements. Foods high in antioxidants include blueberries, red kidney beans, blackberries, pinto beans, cranberries, and artichokes.