Blood-thinning foods, drinks and supplements Blood-thinning foods, drinks and supplements

Blood-thinning foods, drinks, and supplements

 

Herbs, spices such as ginger and Gingko biloba, and certain dietary supplements can help reduce the blood's viscosity, making it less prone to clotting. This effect is known as 'blood thinning' and can benefit those at risk of developing blood clots.

Blood thinners help prevent clots' formation by either preventing blood cells from sticking together (antiplatelets) or slowing the clotting process (anticoagulants).

For individuals with specific medical conditions, like congenital heart defects, medications that act as blood thinners can lower their stroke and heart attack risks. Additionally, there are specific natural remedies that can possess a similar effect.

Before attempting any natural remedies, it is essential to consult a physician, as these treatments may not be as effective as prescription drugs and could interfere with existing medicines.

In this article, we explore some natural substances that may have the ability to thin the blood.

 

 

1. Turmeric

Turmeric, which has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for a long time, contains curcumin, which is an active ingredient. This component of turmeric has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties.

Turmeric has the potential to block blood clotting. However, it is essential to be mindful of combining it with medications that have blood-thinning properties, as this could lead to an increased risk of bleeding.

How to use:

  • In savoury culinary creations and soups,

  • Blended with hot water for a comforting infusion,

  • Or as capsules, with prior consultation with a physician

2. Ginger

Ginger may help to prevent blood clotting by reducing thromboxane, a hormone that causes platelets to clump together. Additionally, ginger contains salicylates, which make aspirin effective in thinning the blood.

Further investigations are necessary to determine the extent of ginger's blood-thinning effects.

How to use:

  • Fresh or dried, lending flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes as well as baked goods,

  • Chopped, gently crushed, and steeped in water to brew delightful ginger tea,

  • Blending seamlessly into juices and smoothies for a zesty kick,

  • It is available in convenient capsule form, subject to medical approval.

3. Cayenne pepper

Although some people claim cayenne pepper may benefit blood-thinning, no reliable scientific evidence supports this claim. Additionally, cayenne pepper contains salicylates, which may have some impact on the body.

How to use:

  • Incorporated into stews and soups to impart a fiery kick,

  • Lightly dusted on hard-boiled eggs for a touch of heat,

  • Adding a pinch to elevate the flavour of cocoa and other chocolate treats,

  • Or taken in capsule form under medical supervision.

4. Vitamin E

People taking blood-thinning medications should not take high doses of vitamin E, as this may cause the blood to become less able to clot. Depending on the amount consumed, vitamin E may affect the clotting process.

Consuming more than 400 IU of vitamin E daily may have a blood-thinning effect, although it is unclear how much. However, it is essential to note that taking a high dose of vitamin E for a prolonged period - such as 1,500 IU daily - can have potentially harmful effects.

How to take:

A wide range of foods are rich in vitamin E, such as:

  • Almonds

  • Safflower oil

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Sunflower oil

  • Whole grains

  • Peanut butter

5. Garlic

Garlic has antithrombotic properties, potentially helping to prevent blood clots. Garlic supplements could lower blood pressure and have slightly antithrombotic effects on people with hypertension.

Certain dietary supplements like garlic can affect platelet function and coagulation. As such, it is best to refrain from taking these supplements before surgical procedures.

How to use:

  • Utilised in savoury dishes, either fresh or dried,

  • By incorporating freshly chopped garlic and olives into bread dough before baking,

  • Or taken as supplements following a doctor's recommendation.

6. Cassia cinnamon

Cinnamon is a source of coumarin, an agent that helps thin the blood. Warfarin, a common blood-thinning medication, is derived from coumarin. Eating small amounts of cinnamon may be beneficial in assisting other natural blood thinners to work better. However, further research is needed. Taking large quantities of cinnamon-containing coumarin over a long period can lead to liver damage.

How to use:

  • In powdered form, enhancing the flavours of cakes, baked goods, and beverages,

  • Blending either whole or powdered cinnamon with other spices in savoury dishes like Moroccan harira

  • Or in capsule form when recommended by a medical professional.

7. Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is widely used as an herbal supplement to help with blood disorders and memory problems. A laboratory study suggested that the compounds present in Ginkgo biloba may be able to limit thrombin activity, an enzyme responsible for blood clotting. However, further research is needed to determine whether or not Ginkgo biloba has any effect on blood clotting in human beings.

How to use:

Before taking Gingko biloba supplements, available as tablets or capsules, it is important to seek advice from a doctor.

8. Grape seed extract

Studies have indicated that grape seed extract has potential health benefits for people with various heart and blood conditions, such as high blood pressure. A test tube study found evidence that grape seed extract can stop platelets from sticking together, which could help to prevent blood clots. Further research is needed to confirm these findings in humans.

How to use:

  • Suffers from a haematological condition,

  • Is prescribed blood-thinning medication,

  • Is on the brink of undergoing a surgical procedure

9. Dong Quai

Dong quai, referred to as "female ginseng," is a traditional Chinese herb studied for its potential to reduce blood clotting. This is due to coumarin, a compound also found in cinnamon. However, a 2015 study of 1,000 milligrams (mg) daily doses of dong quai did not significantly affect blood clotting. Additional research is needed to confirm the results of dong quai on blood clotting.

How to use:

  • In the form of a tea,

  • Incorporated as sliced angelica within an herbal chicken soup,

  • Or as dietary supplements, with guidance from a medical professional.

10. Feverfew

Feverfew is an herb that is part of the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies. A case report indicated that a person taking 800 mg of feverfew three times daily experienced vaginal bleeding and a longer menstrual cycle. Once the patient stopped taking feverfew, their ability to clot blood returned to normal. The authors advised against using feverfew before surgery or when taking blood-thinning medications. Additional studies are needed to investigate feverfew's effects on coagulation.

How to use:

  • By infusing the flowers and leaves in hot water to create a tea,

  • Incorporated into savoury pastries to introduce a subtle bitterness,

  • Or consumed as supplements in either capsule or liquid format, following medical guidance.

Generally, the recommended daily dose ranges from 100 to 300 milligrams.

11. Bromelain

Pineapples contain bromelain, believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and may play a role in managing cardiovascular diseases. A study found that bromelain added to blood samples increased the time it took for the blood to clot. However, the same effect was not observed when bromelain was injected into a few mice, indicating that more research is necessary to understand the potential benefits of bromelain.

How to consume:

Pineapple naturally contains bromelain; a doctor may recommend it as a supplement if necessary.

12. Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel has been found to potentially have blood-thinning effects due to its salicylates, similar to ginger and cayenne pepper. A 2020 laboratory study found that adding aloe vera gel to blood produced an antiplatelet impact comparable to aspirin. However, further research is necessary to determine the impact of aloe vera when taken as a dietary supplement by humans.

How to take:

  • Utilised as a gel, blended into foods like avocado, banana, and others,

  • Consumed as a standalone juice or blended with other liquids and smoothies,

  • Or take in the form of capsules or other recommended supplements under medical guidance.

It is recommended that people stop taking aloe for at least two weeks before any surgery, as it may affect bleeding.

13. Evening primrose

Taking evening primrose oil has been proposed as a way to reduce blood clotting and prevent drug-induced thrombosis, a potentially hazardous condition caused by blood clots while using certain drugs. However, a recent case report suggested that one person's thrombocytopenia - a low platelet count - worsened due to using black seed and evening primrose oils. Further research is needed to understand the safety and effectiveness of evening primrose oil in humans.

How to take:

A doctor may advise taking evening primrose oil in capsule form.

14. Melatonin

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the body, helps to maintain the body clock's normal rhythm. Furthermore, it has been found to impede platelet aggregation, a process potentially leading to the formation of clots.

How to take:

Before taking melatonin as a supplement, it is essential to consult a doctor as it may interact with other medications. For instance, combining melatonin and warfarin (Coumadin) may increase the risk of bleeding.

Frequently asked questions

Following are some queries commonly raised concerning natural anticoagulants.

What are some natural methods for reducing the viscosity of my blood?

Although certain natural substances found in food and supplements — including ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon — might aid in preventing blood clotting, they should never be used as a substitute for medication a doctor recommends. Additionally, these natural remedies may not be safe for specific individuals.

What are some ways to reduce the risk of blood clots at home?

Natural remedies cannot be used to dissolve a clot that has already formed, nor can they be used to effectively treat or lower the risk of blood clots in those predisposed to them. Therefore, medical attention should be sought immediately if an individual is suspected of having a blood clot or is at risk of developing one.

Which foods have the properties of thinning the blood?

Substances found in certain foods and spices, including cinnamon, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, and pineapple, may have the ability to hinder the clotting of the blood.

Does vitamin D act as a blood thinner?

Although some research suggests a possible correlation between vitamin D levels and how a person's body reacts to warfarin, an anticoagulant drug, and certain cardiovascular diseases, there is insufficient evidence to prove that vitamin D can help reduce the risk of blood clots.

Takeaway

While some natural substances in certain foods and supplements may help reduce the chance of clotting, they are not as efficient as prescription medication. They will not be able to break up or dissolve blood clots that have already formed.

It is essential to consult with a physician before taking any natural remedies for blood clotting, as these are not a replacement for prescription medications. Specific natural remedies may interact with existing drugs and can be dangerous without medical supervision.

In addition, since regulation does not exist, people need to be aware of the quality of herbs and supplements they purchase. Researching different brands and checking for any potential side effects of the products before purchasing is essential.

You can connect with one of our doctors at Mobi Doctor with the click of a button and get the care you need.

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