Krave wellness retreats logo

Top 5 “Clean Arteries Foods”: Foods that Decrease the Risk of Heart Disease

Cardiovascular health is a top cause of concern for many people, including athletes, seniors, and those with a strong family history of heart disease. Two aspects of life that we have direct control of when it comes to heart disease are engaging in adequate moderate-intensity exercise and the quality of our diet. Below are a few foods that have been shown to improve general wellness but particularly in the prevention of heart disease and atherosclerosis. Also, they have the added benefit of being either an antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory properties.

Top 5 “Clean Arteries Foods”

1. Olive Oil

Many peer-reviewed studies have shown that olive oil is associated with both a lower risk of heart disease and an overall decrease in risk of general cardiovascular disease. These significant positive findings were seen in both women and men, and it is believed this happens because olive oil has effects on diminishing inflammation, especially within your blood vessels, hence why it helps maintain clean arteries. Extra virgin olive oil also increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin which can lower your risk of diabetes and atherosclerosis or artery disease (build-up of plaque on the inner walls of arteries). If looking for an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular wellness and lower your risk of heart disease, I recommend olive oil since it’s an easy addition to many dishes. Here is another post that includes the top benefits of drinking olive oil in the morning.

2. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA, a healthy fat, has been shown to decrease your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level, known as the “bad cholesterol” vs high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is a “good cholesterol”. There are a few studies that have suggested that flaxseeds may be able to even lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks. Given flaxseeds also contain fiber, it may also help decrease your sugar levels. The reason why flaxseeds can also be considered an antioxidant food group is because they contain lignans. A few studies have suggested that lignans, a phytonutrient, may have a role in decreasing the risk of estrogen-related malignancies but much more research needs to be done in this area. There is however a lot of evidence related to artery disease and flaxseeds, particularly their benefit for heart health and improvement in overall wellness. Check out the video below that discusses how to properly prepare and store flaxseeds! Researchers found that there was a significantly decreased risk of multiple debilitating and common chronic medical conditions. This study noticed a decrease in the risk of cancer mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and neurodegenerative disease (for example Alzheimer’s) mortality. So not only does drinking olive oil decrease the risk of debilitating conditions which means a better quality of life but drinking more olive oil was found to also prolong lifespans. There is still a tremendous need for additional research in learning more about how olive oil increases longevity and decreases the risk the mortality. The best time to consume olive oil is in the morning as it helps prime your body for the normal physiological stress likely to encounter during the day. Many chronic conditions are linked to inflammation, and triggers of inflammation if poor diet and environmental stressors. By drinking olive oil in the morning, it prepares the body for these unintended daytime stressors that directly take years off our lives. Dr. David Sinclair, a pioneer, and co-director of the Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School describes in the below video the potential link between olive oil and longevity. It is likely that olive oil activates a longevity enzyme called SIRT1, similarly to resveratrol (an antioxidant found in grapes). Namely, one of the explanations for the benefits seen in the Mediterranean diet and Blue zones.

3. Cold-water fish

Great healthy examples of cold-water fish are salmon and tuna as these promote wellness but particularly for the prevention of heart disease because of their anti-inflammatory benefits. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and its consumption has been linked to decreasing the bad cholesterol (LDL) level, lowering the risk of heart attacks and stroke. It is recommended that you eat at least two servings of fish a week, but I would definitely emphasize salmon and tuna because of the degree of their omega-3 fatty acid content. Other examples besides salmon and tuna are mackerel, cod, herring, and sardine. By fish containing a fairly great amount of omega-3 fatty acids, this anti-inflammatory compound, certainly, should improve your level of overall heart wellness. Cold-water fish is included in my list of top anti-inflammatory foods so you should definitely add it to your diet to help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and other inflammation-related conditions.

4. Legumes

Legumes have been shown to have multiple cardiovascular benefits such as decreasing blood pressure, decreasing the risk of obesity, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease. Examples of legumes are soybeans, pinto beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas (garbanzo beans). They are a great source of proteins, vitamin B, fiber, and minerals like zinc. With the combination of its protein content and fiber, legumes provide a steady supply of energy for a person while also being an excellent way to help unclog arteries naturally. Legumes sometimes can be tricky to prepare, so here is a quick video on how to prepare lentils. Check it out!

5. Tomatoes

If you love Italian food or are aware of the Mediterranean diet, one of the principal foods is tomatoes. Tomatoes continue a high level of lycopene which has significant anti-inflammatory benefits. One study showed that it decreased the chemical (oxidative) stress your body occasionally goes through, which can be brought on by psychological or physical stress. Inflammation has increasingly been linked to heart disease, so tomatoes make an excellent food group to include in an anti-inflammatory diet that has a focus on wellness improvement.

5. Aids in Digestion and Weight Loss:

Drinking extra virgin olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach has been shown to aid your digestive system. It helps your body break down food and aid in absorbing nutrients like vitamins and minerals more effectively. This is especially helpful for people who suffer from constipation and other digestive issues. The healthy fats, like oleic acid, found in extra virgin olive oil help promote satiety (feeling fuller faster) and reduces cravings. There is some evidence also that the antioxidants found in olives can help burn fat and aid in weight loss.

Top 5 Benefits of Drinking Olive Oil in the Morning

Drinking olive oil in the morning is a great way to start your day with some bonus health benefits and will definitely improve your health and wellness. Olive oil can help your digestive system, aid in weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, and decrease your risk of heart disease. So, next time you reach for a cup of coffee, try pouring yourself one to two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil instead (or too)!

Dr. Tyrrell Jenkins

Hi, I'm Dr. TJ

Health Coach + Experienced Physician

Dr. Tyrrell Jenkins, affectionately known as Dr. TJ, has practiced medicine in 4 areas, including outpatient primary care, urgent care, hospital medicine, and the intensive care unit, which are all unique and have given him a significant breath of clinical experience that many physicians do not possess. This has allowed him to assess and manage the continuum of diseases.


1:1 Private Coaching

Private 1:1 coaching program is specifically for those who have struggled and become frustrated with their thyroid dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) condition. This private coaching is for those who have tried restrictive diets and feel that they are going in circles with no improvement. This is for those who are looking to fast track their progress with a personalized approach.

View More Posts


Best Time to Do Yoga

Best Teas for Digestion

Best Teas for Digestion

Ginger and Turmeric Shots

Ginger and Turmeric Shots