When your arteries are young they expand easily so blood can pass through them without much resistance. Unfortunately when we get older our arteries can become stiffer and lose their ability to open. Stiff arteries can increase your risk for high blood press, heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

Luckily there are a number of lifestyle modifications you can undertake to slow down the aging process of your arteries and even prevent them from ever becoming stiff.


Five Ways to Keep Your Arteries Young

1. Aerobic Exercise:

In a recent article from Nutrition Action, Douglass Seals from the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory said “regular aerobic exercise may have the greatest effect on arterial stiffness” in addition “ if you compare older adults who do regular exercise with older adults who don’t, you see that the exercisers have more-compliant arteries and less stiffening”

Brisk regular walking has shown to reverse arterial stiffness in this study conducted by Seals. What some researches feel is one of the reasons why aerobic exercise helps reduce stiffness in aging arteries has to do with the release of nitric oxide. Endothelial cells, which are the cells in the inner lining of your arteries, produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes and opens up arteries. Aerobic exercise forces blood through the arteries and makes the endothelial cells release more nitric oxide.

What the researches wanted to point out is that moderate aerobic exercise produced these positive results. Strength training actually can increase arterial stiffness. Therefore, if you are resistance training and I recommend that you do resistance training for all of its positive benefits, you have to also do some type of regular aerobic exercise. In a Japanese study, young men who did resistance training had a decline of arterial compliance by 20% but the group who did resistance training and aerobic had no decline at all.

2. Sodium:

The reduction of sodium in your diet has been shown to reduce arterial stiffness. Seals said “sodium restriction has a very powerful effect on the arteries”. Researchers showed that reducing your sodium intake to 1,300mg per day can improve artery compliance by up to 46 percent in as little as two weeks. If you need help reducing your sodium check out my article Reduce Your Sodium and Lose Weight.

3. Vegetables:

Eating multiple servings of vegetables per day has been linked to improve endothelial function. The more fruits and vegetables you eat the better your endothelial function. Even just one more serving of fruit or vegetable has been shown to help.

4. Potassium:

Studies have indicated that taking a potassium supplement every day can improve your endothelial function. I recommend you try to increase your potassium by eating more vegetables and fruits. Here is another article I wrote called Am I Eating enough potassium. It will help you increase your potassium naturally.

5. Fish oil:

Omega-3 fats can also improve endothelial function. Taking a fish oil supplement or eating seven ounces of salmon every day can improve your endothelial function.

There are so many things we can do to improve our health and live a more active life. Lifestyle modification has been proven to be a very powerful tool to combat the aging process. Keeping your arteries young by aerobically exercising, reducing your sodium, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and getting enough healthy omega-3 fats. This is the way to go.

If you need help modifying your diet or living a more active lifestyle, leave a comment. I’ll help you anyway I can.

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Best – Mike Cola

Fitness Contrarian

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