What Are Blood Thinners? Read About 8 Natural Blood Thinning Foods

Amritha K

When it comes to the matter of heart and at the cost of our life, blood thinners or blood thinning foods and medications play a very important role. If you are suffering from heart problems and complications, it is said that you should start consuming foods that have properties of a natural blood thinner.

What Are Blood Thinners?

Blood thinners are medications taken orally or intravenously to prevent a blood clot [1]. Blood clots normally are not harmful but in some cases, blood clots can stop the flow of blood to the heart, lungs, or brain, resulting in a stroke or heart attack [2].

Clotting of your blood is your body's way of protecting you from bleeding, which is good in most cases and help prevent loss of blood [3]. Blood thinners thin the blood to keep blood cells from sticking together in the veins and arteries and prevent blood clots by increasing the amount of time it takes for blood clots to form [4].

Individuals with certain conditions such as an irregular heart rhythm or a congenital heart defect require blood-thinning medications to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke [5]. That is, blood thinners are recommended for those who have blood clots in the veins and arteries.

Blood thinners lower your risk for heart attack and stroke by limiting the onset of blood clots. Apart from the medications, there are certain foods that have blood-thinning properties, which can help reduce the risk of clotting [6].

Note: Do not use these natural blood thinners instead of or with your prescription blood-thinning medication without first talking to your doctor.

Health Benefits Of Donating Blood

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains coumarin, a compound that works as an excellent anticoagulant [7]. Cinnamon, when consumed in small quantities, can help lower the blood pressure and relieve inflammation. Consuming this spice can help reduce inflammation generally caused by arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

However, avoid using cinnamon in large quantities for a prolonged period of time because it can cause liver damage [8].

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2. Ginger

Ginger is a great blood thinner as it contains salicylate, a natural chemical found in many plants and can help prevent blood from clotting [9]. When it comes to thinning of blood, ginger helps to reduce inflammation in the body and relaxes the nerves as well, and more studies are required to check the effectiveness of ginger in comparison to prescription medication [10].

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3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has an excellent blood-thinning effect that helps to prevent blood clotting in the arteries and veins. Because of the high amount of salicylates in these peppers, it helps boost the blood circulation in the body and also lowers the blood pressure [11][12].

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4. Garlic

Garlic helps to kill free radicals in the body and thus prevents the damage to the cell. It helps to improve the platelet count in the body and reduces blood pressure [13]. Apart from working as an excellent blood thinner, garlic is also known to improve blood circulation in the body.

Garlic has been proven to show antithrombotic activity, that is, an antithrombotic agent can help reduce blood clot formation [14].

5. Turmeric

Curcumin, one of the main ingredients in turmeric, acts as an anticoagulant [15]. It helps remove cholesterol and plaque from blood to make it thin and thereby prevent blood clotting [16].

6. Vitamin E

Vitamin E can help blood clotting in different ways and it depends on the amount of vitamin E consumed [17]. Although it is unclear how much amount of the vitamin can help thin the blood, it is likely that more than 400 International Units (IU) per day is required [18].

It may be safer to get vitamin E from foods rather than supplements. Foods rich in vitamin E are almonds, sunflower oil, whole grains etc.

7. Grape Seed Extract

Some studies have pointed out that grape seed extract may have potential benefits for several heart and blood conditions [19]. The seed extract contains antioxidants that may protect the blood vessels and prevent high blood pressure, and act as a blood thinner [20].

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8. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba seed and dried leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 1,000 years. The unique combination of antioxidants and phenolic compounds in the plant extract are increasingly inclined towards improving blood circulation [21].

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One study pointed out that ginkgo biloba extract has similar effects to streptokinase, a drug used to treat blood clots [22].

Other Blood Thinning Foods

Certain atural substances may reduce blood clotting to some degree, but natural remedies are unlikely to be as effective as blood-thinning drugs [23]. Discuss with your doctor before considering any of the natural blood thinners.

Here are a few more natural blood thinners, that does not have scientific proof as to the aforementioned ones.

  • Salmon
  • Red wine [24]
  • Almonds [25]
  • Olive oil
  • Pineapple (bromelain enzyme)
  • Ginseng (dong quai)
  • Chamomile tea
  • Avocado [26]
  • Cherry

On A Final Note…

While there are a number of natural blood thinners available, do not start using them without first talking to your doctor. These natural blood thinners can interfere with your prescription medication and can increase your chance of bleeding. Also, these natural remedies can decrease the effectiveness of the prescription medication, thereby increasing the chance of clot formation.

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