Healthy blood vessels are important so the heart does not need to work as hard to pump blood. Flexible and elastic blood vessels keep the risk low for cardiovascular disease, strokes, and some forms of dementia in the elderly. Researchers have found some foods to be very beneficial for healthy blood vessels—and some very detrimental as well.
Fish and Vegetables
A study by the University of Maryland has found the Mediterranean diet to be beneficial for blood vessel function, particularly for its emphasis on eating fish like salmon and tuna, and vegetables rich in antioxidants such as broccoli and green peppers.
Mediterranean Diet Modifications
Another study, this one from Harvard University, also found the Mediterranean diet to be beneficial, especially when excluding dairy products and potatoes, and including multivitamin supplements and moderate wine consumption.
Good news for many people was a study presented at the American Heart Association's 2002 scientific sessions confirming the beneficial effects of eating dark chocolate for healthy blood vessels.
Additional Healthy Foods
Other healthy blood vessel foods include walnuts and almonds, ground flaxseed, oat bran and oatmeal, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits and beans.
Food to Avoid
The worst foods for blood vessels appear to be those high in fat, trans-fats, and refined carbohydrates. Palm oil, coconut oil, lard, shortening, butter and fatty meats should be limited.
Fast Food Detriment
A study by the University of Maryland found that eating a fast-food breakfast caused a rapid and significant decline in blood flow, which lasted for 2 to 4 hours.