Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the deadliest disease worldwide. In the United States, nearly 700,000 people died from heart disease in 2021, accounting for one-fifth of all deaths. As one grows older, blood vessels undergo gradual inevitable damage, some may even begin to harden and clot. Clearing the blood vessels becomes an important task for good health and can be accomplished in several ways.
The following are health and lifestyle suggestions to lessen your risk for cardiovascular disease.
1. Diet: Diet is essential for vascular health. Increasing your vegetable and fruit intake can boost your body’s levels of antioxidants that protect the lining of blood vessels from oxidative damage. In addition, reducing intake of high-fat, high-cholesterol, and high-salt foods can also help maintain blood vessel health.
A nearly 30-year long-term survey by Shiga University in Japan found that the lower the intake of vegetables, fruits, and fish, coupled with higher intake of salt, will result in higher risk of death from CVD.
2. Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, swimming, or cycling, can improve cardiopulmonary function, strengthen heart muscle, and enhance blood vessel elasticity.
A study published in the Journal of Hypertension in 2012 showed that for patients with a higher risk of heart disease due to high blood pressure, regular exercise can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 16 to 67 percent. Whereas, more sedentary persons had twice the risk of death.
3. Weight control: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the burden on the body and reduce the risk of CVD.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2020 showed that for adults, for every 5 kg (11 lb) increase in body weight, the risk of death from CVD increases by 11 percent, and the risk of coronary heart disease increases by 18 percent.
4. Stop smoking: Smoking is one of the main causes of vascular damage. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of CVD while also improving overall physical health.
5. Control blood pressure and blood sugar levels: High blood pressure and high blood sugar can damage blood vessel walls and increase the risk of CVD. The health of blood vessels can be maintained by regularly checking and controlling these indicators.
6. Psychological adjustment: A study published in JAMA Network Open in 2019 found that people who are more optimistic about the future have a lower risk of heart disease.
7. Adopt stress relief techniques: Chronic stress can lead to blood vessel damage. Stress relief techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, are very effective in helping the blood vessels remain healthy.
Chinese Medicinal Herbs and Prescriptions for Scavenging Blood Vessels
What are traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs that can help clean blood vessels?
1. Salvia: Salvia is widely used in TCM prescriptions. It has the functions of promoting blood circulation, removing blood stasis, lowering blood pressure, and protecting the heart. It can also help maintain blood vessel health.
2. Hawthorn: Hawthorn is rich in flavonoids, such as maslinic acid, rutin, and quercetin. Flavinoids have the effects of lowering blood lipids, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, and anti-platelet aggregation. As such hawthorn helps prevent and/or treat CVDs such as atherosclerosis.
3. Paeoniae rubra: has the effects of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, clearing away heat and detoxification, and relieving pain. It can be used to treat cardiovascular diseases, liver and spleen diseases, and gynecological diseases, among others. Paeoniae rubra contains mainly glycosides, such as paeoniflorin, which have certain antioxidant effects and may help reduce blood lipids and prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.
The main effect of Paeoniae rubra is to promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis, improve microcirculation, and has a certain auxiliary therapeutic effect on some diseases caused by poor blood circulation, such as dysmenorrhea and irregular menstruation.
4. Panax notoginseng: With the functions of promoting blood circulation, removing blood stasis, lowering blood pressure, and anti-platelet aggregation, Panax notoginseng is widely used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
TCM Prescriptions for Clearing Blood Vessels
1. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Decoction (Persica & Carthamus Combination): A classic TCM prescription with the functions of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, promoting qi (vital energy), and relieving pain. It is suitable for patients with severe symptoms of blood stasis, such as angina pectoris, coronary heart disease, and cerebral thrombosis.
2. Tong Qiao Huo Xue Pill: This pill is a TCM prescription for treating cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Its ingredients include Paeoniae rubra, Chuanxiong rhizome, Periscae semen, Carthami flos, and Moschus. It has the benefits of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, lowering blood pressure, and improving coronary and cerebral functions.
3. Compound Danshen Dropping Pill (CDDP): CDDP is a Chinese medicinal drop pill made from Salvia miltiorrhiza, Panax notoginseng, and Borneolum syntheticum. It shows much efficacy in removing blood stasis, regulating the qi, lowering blood pressure, and in heart protection. CDDP also is suitable for hypertension, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, and other similar diseases.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2020 found that for patients with coronary heart disease who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention, after taking Compound Danshen Dripping Pills, there was significant improvement observed, and the risk of serious adverse cardiovascular incidence was reduced by 47 percent.
Balanced Intake of 5 Types of Food for Blood Vessel Protection
What foods are recommended for clearing blood vessels?
1. Vegetables: Vegetables are rich in various vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid, potassium, magnesium, cellulose, and other ingredients, which can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and prevent arteriosclerosis. It is recommended to eat more green vegetables such as spinach, and broccoli.
2. Fruits: Fruits are rich in various nutrients, and are especially abundant in vitamin C and cellulose, which can help lower cholesterol levels, scavenge free radicals, and reduce thrombus formation. It is recommended to eat more citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons.
The Nurses’ Health Study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that compared with those who ate less than 1.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, those who ate at least 8 servings per day were 30 percent less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
3. Nuts: Nuts are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant substances, which can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce thrombosis, and prevent arteriosclerosis. It is recommended to eat nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews in moderate quantities.
Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease published a study in 2022 that tracked more than 3,000 young people for more than 20 years and recorded their health status over a 30-year period. It was found that people who ate more walnuts when they were young had better health indicators than those who did not eat walnuts at all. Their body weight, waist size, blood pressure, and triglyceride concentrations were all lower. As these figures were all associated with cardiovascular disease risk, it indicates they are less susceptible to cardiovascular disease.
4. Fish: Studies have found that fish is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce thrombosis, and prevent arteriosclerosis. It is recommended to eat salmon, sardines, tuna, and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids in moderate quantities.
5. Whole grain food: Whole grain food is rich in various vitamins and minerals, and is especially rich in cellulose and antioxidant substances, which can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent arteriosclerosis. It is recommended to eat more whole-grain foods such as oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread.
Having said that, it should be noted that food serves a limited role and cannot completely replace medical treatment. If you have cardiovascular disease or other high-risk diseases, you also need to follow a doctor’s treatment plan.
Note: Some of the above-mentioned herbs may sound unfamiliar, but many are readily available in health food stores, and Asian groceries. Please consult a professional physician for specific treatment options as everyone’s physique is different.