Artery elasticity is not only beneficial for your well-being but necessary to keep blood flowing properly. Just because it's something that people don't see every day, they tend to overlook vascular health more than they might overlook obesity. But it's just as important, if not more so, to keep your body in good shape.
Cholesterol is a steroid that makes up part of the cell membrane lipid bilayer. Cholesterol forms stable rafts and makes the cell membrane less fluid. It's not a bad thing as many proteins need to be kept in place, but too much cholesterol ends up making cells too stiff and when these cells make up artery walls, the arteries become stiff, too. It's important to keep cholesterol levels in check and to keep cholesterol intake at a moderate level.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating well goes hand-in-hand with reducing cholesterol intake, but it's important in its own right. Arterial plaques can build up from too much fatty food and these plaques adhere to artery walls and prevent elasticity. Make sure you get fiber to help keep your digestive system in working order and drink plenty of water to flush away substances that can cause arterial blockages like plaques that can result from an unhealthy diet.
Just like with muscles in the body, the best way to keep arteries elastic is to exercise. It forces all the tissues in your body to stretch and contract. This motion can keep both muscles and arteries limber. And as your heart rate increases, you end up pumping more blood through your vasculature. Think of it like flushing out the system. This, in combination with a good diet and drinking a lot of water will ensure arteries remain elastic.
Just as muscles can remain tense from too much stress, arteries can negatively react to a high-stress lifestyle, too. When tension gets high and stays that way, arteries don't flex as much. Blood pressure tends to stay high and arteries eventually lose elasticity due to a lack of motion.
The Importance of Arterial Elasticity
As your heart expands and contracts, it forces blood through arteries, which deliver that blood all over your body into branches of blood vessels that are ever decreasing in size until the blood reaches the smallest blood vessels - capillaries. From capillaries, blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells all over your body and returns to be cleaned and re-oxygenated in veins. Veins don't need to expand or contract as much as arteries do because the blood flow coming from the heart has a much higher variation in pressure than blood in veins. That's why arteries need to stay open and elastic.