10 foods that help protect the heart and clean arteries

Plaque buildup in the arteries can put you at serious risk for stroke and heart attack. Plaque can rupture, causing a heart attack, or it can get large enough to block blood flow.

It isn’t possible to get rid of plaque in the arteries, but doctors can shrink it, according to Harvard Health. Doctors try to remedy the problem by finding small, soft plaques, removing the cholesterol from inside and allowing them to shrivel, thereby reducing the blockage and danger of rupture.

This can be accomplished with drugs called statins, but statins come with side effects that make some patients wary. Statins can cause muscle pain, fuzzy thinking, digestive issues and, in some cases, even liver damage. For this reason, dietary changes are a prudent first option for reducing cholesterol, shrinking arterial plaque and helping to protect the heart from damage. Here are some foods to include in your diet.

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