In this article, you will learn about the one “hidden” cause of clogged arteries. A common misconception about plaque build-up in your arteries, or atherosclerosis, is that it’s primarily caused by high LDL cholesterol levels.
But in reality, researchers are now realizing that LDL is only a fraction of the problem. The biggest culprit behind clogged arteries is actually a condition that affects more than 120 million Americans.
And because this metabolic disorder typically doesn’t trigger any noticeable symptoms early on. Individuals can have it for years without knowing it. What we’re talking about here, is none other than insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells in your body don’t respond properly to the hormone insulin. Insulin helps your body absorb glucose (sugar) from your blood to make energy. When the process works correctly, the level of glucose in your blood remains in a healthy and steady range.
But when your cells don’t react to insulin the way they’re supposed to, sugar stays in your blood. As sugar builds up and reaches dangerous levels, it creates the perfect environment for widespread inflammation, which can damage the lining of your arteries over time.
This damage makes it easier for cholesterol molecules to enter inside your arteries, and build up as plaque. Not only does this narrow the opening in your arteries, thus slowing down blood flow, but plaque accumulation also triggers your body to release immune cells to attack the plaque, which can lead to blood clots and cause serious heart problems or stroke.
It’s for these reasons that insulin resistance is now being considered the most common cause of plaque build-up in arteries. As you probably already know, the main contributors to insulin resistance are eating a high-sugar or high-carb diet, and being overweight or obese.
Fortunately, these risk factors, along with elevated LDL cholesterol, can be addressed by making healthy changes to your diet. A good place to start is eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods, such as vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, nuts, seeds, fish while also cutting back on sugar, and swapping out refined carbs for small quantities of whole grains like quinoa or oats.