Since ancient times garlic has been used to treat heart disease and hypertension. According to a study published in preventive medicine, garlic inhibits coronary artery calcification which serves as a marker for plaque formation.
Grapes are rich in flavonoids, quercetin, and resveratrol. These flavonoids have been found to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol that leads to the formation of plaque in artery walls. They also lower the risk of developing blood clots that can lead to heart attacks.
Spinach is rich in potassium and folic acids, both of which act as a defense against high blood pressure. Spinach is also rich in lutein, a plant carotenoid which not only protects against age related macular degeneration but also prevents heart attacks by keeping arteries free from cholesterol build up.
A study conducted by researchers at Southampton University found that Omega 3 oils, present in fishes like tuna and salmon, stop the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries. These fatty acids prevent clots from forming and cholesterol from becoming oxidized.
• Olive oil
Only oxidized cholesterol is able to stick to your artery walls and form plaques. Monounsaturated fats present in olive oil when mixed with molecules of bad cholesterol become less likely to be oxidized.
According to a study conducted by Korean researchers, lycopene, a compound present in tomatoes that gives them their color, helps in prevent hardening of the arteries. Researchers found that women with the highest lycopene levels in their blood had the least stiffness in their arteries.
Pomegranate juice not only appears to prevent hardening of the arteries by reducing blood vessel damage, but may also reverse the progression of this disease. Pomegranate fruit and its juice are high in antioxidant content, which may help fight hardening of the arteries.
• Kiwi and Cantaloupe
These antioxidant-rich foods work by reducing toxic LDL cholesterol, which is formed by a rusting process in your arteries. They can help stop the rust in its tracks and even prevent it from spreading. Eat one cup of cantaloupe or one kiwi per day to unclog your arteries.
• Cranberry juice
This juice strains the fat out of arteries. Instead of having fat build up in your blood vessels, this juice boosts your cell’s ability to absorb the fat and use it for production of energy. Drink three glasses of this juice every week to unclog your arteries.
Thanks to the soluble fiber in oats, cholesterol doesn’t stand a chance. This fiber attaches itself to cholesterol and carries it right out of your system. Some studies have shown that eating just 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of cooked oat- bran cereal daily can lower cholesterol levels by almost 20%.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
1 spaghetti squash (you’ll only use about 1/4th of it)
2 tsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Light or Brummel & Brown)
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. plus 1 dash each salt and black pepper
1 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
One 5-oz. raw boneless skinless chicken breast cutlet, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. dry white wine
1 1/2 tsp. capers, drained
1 tsp. lemon juice
Microwave whole squash for 6 minutes, or until soft enough to cut. Slice into quarters; scoop out and discard seeds. Save three quarters for another time.
Place one spaghetti squash quarter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave for 7 minutes, or until soft.
Use a fork to scrape out spaghetti squash strands. Thoroughly blot dry, removing as much moisture as possible. Measure out 1 1/4 cups, and place in a medium bowl. (If needed, repeat process with another squash quarter. Save any remaining for another time.) Add 1 tsp. butter, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, and dash each salt and black pepper. Mix well. Cover to keep warm.
In a wide bowl, mix flour with remaining 1/8 tsp. garlic powder.
Season chicken with remaining 1/8 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Thoroughly coat chicken with the seasoned flour, pressing firmly to help it adhere.
Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Cook chicken for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Place chicken over spaghetti squash, and re-cover to keep warm.
To make the sauce, in a small nonstick pot, combine broth with cornstarch, and stir to dissolve. Add wine, capers, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tsp. butter. Stir well. Set heat to medium low. Stirring frequently, cook until sauce is slightly thickened and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
Pour sauce over chicken and spaghetti squash.
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