Bloodclots are very serious, even life threatening,because they may stop the flow of blood to the lungs, the heart, and the brain. Blood thinners or anticoagulants inhibit platelet blood cells from clotting. Natural blood thinners from dietary sources can also lower blood vessel inflammation and C-reactive proteins that can help to lower blood pressure while keeping blood flow moving strong. Those that are currently being treated for cardiovascular concerns or are hoping to manage their cardiovascular health in a more natural way can turn to natural blood thinning foods to help get the effects they need.
All blood-thinning foods should be used with care, as they can increase the risk of bleeding. This can be especially problematic if you are taking any blood-thinning medications, or you're at an increased risk for bleeding. If you are taking aspirin, prescription medications such as plavix, warfarin or clopidogrel, or are planning to have surgery, be sure to check with your doctor before adding these blood-thinning substances to your diet.
Types of Natural Blood Thinners
There are four types of natural blood thinning foods, those high in vitamin E, those that contain salicylates, those that contain natural antibiotics and those that contain omega-3 fatty acids.
One type of natural blood thinners are substances that block vitamin K known as salicylates. The most well known of these is aspirin, but many foods, such as preservatives and flavorings, also contain salicylates or aspirin-like substances. Certain people are known to be aspirin or salicylate sensitive. These people can eat more salicylates as long as they eat a balanced amount of vitamin K rich foods. Vitamin K plays an important role in the body's in blood clotting processes.
Foods that are higher in salicylates include many spices, most fruits, especially dried fruits, nuts, and also some flavorings and preservatives. Salicylates block vitamin K to naturally thin the blood, increasing the blood circulation thus increasing the metabolism. These are often referred to as “warming spices” because of the increase in circulation that raises body temperature, and speeds up the metabolism, making a person feel warmer.
One of the most common salicylates on the market is aspirin.
- Herbs: Cayenne pepper, curry powder, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, dill, licorice, turmeric, peppermint
- Fruits: Oranges, raisins, tangerines, prunes, strawberries, cherries, grapes, cranberries, blueberries
- Other Substances: Honey, chewing gum, vinegar, cider, wine, peppermints
Turmeric is an herb commonly used in Indian cooking, is also used medicinally in Chinese and American Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory with potential for treating wounds, skin diseases and liver conditions. Similar to garlic, turmeric may also stave off the onset of atherosclerosis by preventing bad cholesterol from accumulating in blood vessels.
Cayenne pepper is a very potent and fast-acting of the blood thinners that in large quantities, it has the effect of a clot buster, and has been used for relief from angina and heart attack recovery.
Vitamin E Rich Foods
Vitamin E helps to prevent over-oxidization that can promote healthy bodily responses. These include Swiss chard, mustard greens, spinach, almonds, kale, collard greens, red bell peppers, kiwi, papaya, broccoli, wheat and vegetable oils.
Omega- 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have received a lot of press lately because of their ability to lower cholesterol levels and make the blood less prone to clotting. Fish oil is usually high in omega-3s and can be ingested either through purchasing capsules or by eating fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids can work to lower cholesterol levels and can help to distract blood clots. Foods Rich in Omega-3s include:
- Albacore tuna
- Lake Trout
- Flax Seed Oil & Olive Oil
- Pumpkin Seeds
A number of studies in recent years have found omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for anxiety and depression. When eating fish, one danger is that many fish have high mercury levels, so experts often have mixed recommendations on exactly just how healthy eating a lot of seafood is for most people.
Natural Antibiotic Foods
Long term antibiotic use has been linked to thinning of the blood. Some foods such as onions, jicama, garlic, tree ear and olive oil have natural antibiotic properties that can bring on these effects.
- Tree Ear
- Pure Raw Honey
Garlic and onions contain natural antibiotics that can kill the intestinal bacteria that manufacture vitamin K. Many studies have found that long term prescription antibiotic use can cause bleeding problems due to a vitamin K deficiency. However, for people who seem to always be short on vitamin K, even small amounts of foods with natural antibiotics properties, like garlic and onions, are problematic.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples that has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, and is especially helpful in reducing pain and stiffness associated with arthritis when taken on an empty stomach. Its action is enhanced when taken in combination with turmeric and ginger. Additionally, bromelain is a wonderful digestive enzyme when taken with meals and helps break down proteins, protecting against the formation of uric acid crystals, which are responsible for causing gout and certain types of kidney stones.
Water is considered one of the most effective blood thinners available. The blood tends to thicken and clump when the body is dehydrated, so getting an ½ ounce of water for every pound of body weight each day can help to keep your blood running smoothly.
A study that appeared in the October, 2005 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that "Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with both platelet activation and aggregation." Another study, published in 1986 in the same journal, found signs ofsubclinical vitamin K deficiency in a study of 20 male alcoholics. Perhaps not coincidentally, the signs of fetal alcohol syndrome closely resemble the symptoms of vitamin K deficiency in newborns.
Other Forms Of Blood Thinners
Exposure to the sun can help to improve circulation and thin the blood. This is believed to be caused by the vitamin D that the body synthesizes when exposed to the sun.
Based on studies of athletes, vigorous exercise seems to lower vitamin K levels. Women who are elite athletes, i.e. those who over exercise, instead of being healthy actually are at risk for hypoestrogenism, osteoporosis and vitamin K deficiency.
Avoiding Foods that Clot the Blood
Foods that clot the blood include those high in vitamin K, especially leafy green vegetables, saturated fats, and cultured foods with live bacteria that synthesize vitamin K in the intestinal tract.
At A Glance Guide Of The Top Natural Blood Thinners