Your body has a way of protecting you from bleeding. Most of the time your blood’s ability to clot is a good thing. But there are times when blood clots can be dangerous.
If you have certain conditions, like an irregular heart rhythm or a congenital heart defect, or if you’ve had certain procedures, like heart valve surgery, your doctor may prescribe a blood thinner. These conditions and the surgery increase the chance of life-threatening blood clots. Such clots may cause a heart attack or stroke. Blood thinners lower your chance of heart attack and stroke by lessening the chance that blood clots form.
There are also some ingredients found in nature that some believe help reduce the risk of clotting. However, they haven’t been tested and compared against prescription blood thinners. You may want to talk to your doctor about the following natural remedies which have been reported to help thin the blood. Again, never take them instead of or with your prescription blood thinning medication.
Read more for more information on some of the natural blood thinners.
Turmeric is a spice that gives curry dishes a yellow color, and it’s long been used as a folk medicine. According to a study, the main curative ingredient, curcumin, works on platelets to prevent clots from forming.
Ginger is in the same family as turmeric and contains salicylate, an acid found in many plants. Acetyl salicylic acid, derived from salicylate and usually called aspirin, can help prevent stroke. Foods with salicylate, such as avocados, some berries, chilies, and cherries, can also keep blood from clotting. More studies are needed to see if they’re as effective as prescription medicines.
Cinnamon and its close cousin, cassia, are both widely available and contain coumarin, a chemical that acts as a powerful anticoagulant. When ingested with cinnamon and cassia, coumarin may also lower blood pressure and relieve inflammation caused by arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. However, studies done in humans don’t provide evidence cinnamon of use for any health-related condition.
Use caution when using cinnamon as a blood thinner. Some studies show long-term cinnamon consumption in foods, including cinnamon-based breads and teas, can cause liver damage.
Cayenne peppers can have a powerful blood-thinning effect on your body because of the high amount of salicylates in them. Cayenne peppers can be taken in capsules or easily ground up as a spice for food. In addition to thinning your blood, cayenne peppers can lower your blood pressure and increase circulation.
If you have cardiovascular, or heart and blood vessel disease, or if you want to help prevent it, your doctor may recommend a heart healthy diet. A heart healthy diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grains, healthy oils, low- or no-fat milk products, and healthy proteins. A heart healthy diet limits high-fat, high-cholesterol, and high sugar foods. This type of diet is best for keeping you, and your blood healthy.
If you do take Coumadin (warfarin), it’s very important to have about the same amount of Vitamin K-containing foods every day. Too much vitamin K in your diet may lessen the effectiveness of Coumadin. Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, and spinach are high in vitamin K.
There are reports that some foods and drinks can help thin the blood. They include:
- vegetables, like lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and onions
- fruits, like berries, grapes, grapefruits, pineapple, and pomegranates
- tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, and brazil nuts
- fish like mackerel, trout, herring, albacore tuna, and salmon
- drinks like green tea, grape juice, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice
- dark chocolate
There are many natural remedies to reduce blood clotting. It’s important to remember that they shouldn’t be taken instead of your prescription medication. And neither should you take any of them with your prescription blood thinner without your doctor’s advice.
Natural products and some foods can interfere with your prescription medication. They may cause your blood to be too thin and increase your chance of bleeding. Or the natural remedies can block the prescription medication, increasing the chance of clot formation.
Always speak to your doctor before trying anything that could have an impact on your health.
I add a sprinkle of cinnamon to my coffee every day. Should I be concerned?
The concern with any of these alternative choices is if you consume an excessive amount, which could lead to these side effects. Everything is better when in moderation, so having a sprinkle every day should not prevent you from enjoying it.Dr. Mark LaFlammeAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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