Blood thinning foods, drinks, and supplements

Natural blood thinners are substances that reduce the blood’s ability to form clots. Blood clotting is a necessary process, but sometimes the blood can clot too much, leading to complications that can be potentially dangerous.

People who have certain medical conditions, such as congenital heart defects, may require blood-thinning medications to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

It is essential to speak with a doctor before trying these remedies, as they may not work as well as medication and may interfere with some prescription drugs.

Best natural blood thinners

Some foods and other substances that may act as natural blood thinners and help reduce the risk of clots include the following list:

1. Turmeric

Natural blood thinners tumeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning properties.

People have long used the golden spice known as turmeric for culinary and medicinal purposes. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning or anticoagulant properties.

A study published in 2012 suggests that taking a daily dose of turmeric spice may help people maintain the anticoagulant status of their blood.

People can add turmeric to curries and soups or mix it with hot water to make a comforting tea.

2. Ginger

Ginger is another anti-inflammatory spice that may stop blood clotting. It contains a natural acid called salicylate. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a synthetic derivative of salicylate and a potent blood thinner.

To get the anticoagulant effects of natural salicylates, people may want to use fresh or dried ginger regularly in baking, cooking, and juices.

It is unlikely, however, that natural salicylates are as effective as blood-thinning medications.

A 2015 analysis of 10 studies also suggests that ginger’s effects on blood clotting are unclear. It indicates that more research is needed to understand the potential blood-thinning properties of ginger fully.

3. Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are also high in salicylates and can act as powerful blood-thinning agents. Cayenne pepper is quite spicy, however, and many people can only tolerate it in small amounts.

Capsules containing cayenne pepper are available in health food stores and online. Other benefits of this spice include lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and reducing pain sensations.

4. Vitamin E

Natural blood thinners almonds

Vitamin E reduces blood clotting in a few different ways. These effects depend on the amount of vitamin E that a person takes. The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements suggest that people who are taking blood-thinning drugs should avoid taking large doses of vitamin E.

It is unclear how much vitamin E thins the blood, although it is likely that people would need to take more than 400 International Units (IU) per day. Taking high doses of vitamin E supplements, for example, above 1,500 IU daily, on a long-term basis, may have negative effects.

It may be safer to get vitamin E from foods rather than supplements. Foods that contain vitamin E include:

  • almonds
  • safflower oil
  • sunflower oil
  • sunflower seeds
  • wheat germ oil
  • whole grains

5. Garlic

Besides its often desirable taste in food and cooking, garlic has natural antibiotic and antimicrobial properties.

Some research reports that odorless garlic powder demonstrates antithrombotic activities. An antithrombotic agent is a substance that reduces blood clot formation.

Another review of several studies on garlic suggests that it may thin the blood, although the effects are small and short-lived.

The American Academy of Family Physicians nonetheless recommend that people stop taking high doses of garlic 7 to 10 days before a planned surgery because of its antithrombotic properties.

6. Cassia cinnamon

Cinnamon contains coumarin, a powerful blood-thinning agent. Warfarin, the most commonly used blood-thinning drug, is derived from coumarin.

Chinese cassia cinnamon contains a much higher coumarin content than Ceylon cinnamon. Taking coumarin-rich cinnamon on a long-term basis can, however, cause liver damage.

It may be best to stick to small amounts of cinnamon in the diet in addition to using other natural blood thinners.

7. Ginkgo biloba

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree for thousands of years. Ginkgo is also a very popular herbal supplement in the United States and Europe. People take it for blood disorders, memory problems, and low energy.

Gingko thins the blood and has fibrinolytic effects, according to some sources. This means it may dissolve blood clots. One study reports that ginkgo extract has similar effects to streptokinase, a drug used to treat blood clots.

The research was, however, done in a laboratory, and not carried out on people or animals. Further research is necessary to see if gingko has the same effects in the human body.

8. Grape seed extract

There is some evidence to suggest that grape seed extract may have potential benefits for several heart and blood conditions. It contains antioxidants that may protect the blood vessels and prevent high blood pressure.

Grape seed extract may also act as a natural blood thinner. Because of these effects, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggest that people with blood disorders, those taking blood-thinning medications, and people about to have an operation should not take grape seed extract.

9. Dong quai

Natural blood thinners dong quai

Dong quai is a traditional Chinese herb that increases the length of time it takes blood to clot.

Dong quai, also known as female ginseng, is another traditional Chinese herb that may reduce blood clotting.

Studies on animals report that dong quai significantly increases the length of time it takes blood to clot (prothrombin time).

This effect may result from dong quai’s coumarin content, the same substance that makes cinnamon such a potent anticoagulant.

Dong quai is taken orally, and can be consumed as part of a herbal tea or soup.

10. Feverfew

Feverfew is a medicinal herb that comes from the same family as daisies or the Asteraceae family. People take feverfew for migraines, some digestive disorders, and fever.

Feverfew may also act as a blood thinner by inhibiting the activity of platelets and preventing blood clotting. Fever few is available in capsule or liquid form.

11. Bromelain

Bromelain is an enzyme that people extract from pineapples. It may be an effective remedy for cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

Research suggests that bromelain can thin the blood, break down blood clots, and reduce clot formation. The enzyme also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Bromelain is available in supplement form from health stores and drug stores.

Takeaway

Many natural substances may reduce clotting to some degree. But natural remedies are unlikely to be as effective as blood-thinning drugs and people at risk of blood clots should not use them instead of prescription medications.

Government authorities do not monitor herbs and supplements as closely as food and drugs. People should research the different brands carefully before buying to ensure they are known for quality and purity.

People taking prescription blood thinners should not use natural remedies without talking to their doctor first. Even though they are natural, some substances and foods may thin the blood too much, especially when taken in conjunction with medications. This can increase the risk of bleeding.

While people can usually consume foods with potential blood-thinning properties safely in reasonable amounts, it is essential to speak to a doctor before trying herbal remedies, such as dong quai and grape seed extract.

If you have additional concerns or questions, we are available 24 Hours a day, 7 days per week 365 days per year, by 561-510-0471, www.rivierabchurgentcare.com/telecare24 or 31 W. 20th Street, Riviera Beach FL  33404.[sg_popup id=”1″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]

Rate your Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese.

If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries. This buildup of plaque is known as atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease, where your coronary arteries become narrow or even blocked.

What are LDL, HDL, and VLDL?

There are different types of cholesterol:

  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
  • VLDL stands for very low-density lipoprotein. It is also a “bad” cholesterol because it too contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. But VLDL and LDL are different; VLDL carries triglycerides and LDL carries cholesterol.

What causes high cholesterol?

The most common cause of high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle. This can include

  • Unhealthy eating habits, such as eating lots of bad fats. One type, saturated fat, is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods. Another type, trans fat, is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity, with lots of sitting and little exercise. This lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Smoking, which lowers HDL cholesterol, especially in women. It also raises your LDL cholesterol.

Genetics may also cause people to have high cholesterol. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited form of high cholesterol. Other medical conditions and certain medicines may also cause high cholesterol.

What can raise my risk of high cholesterol?

A variety of things can raise your risk for high cholesterol:

  • Age. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. Even though it is less common, younger people, including children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
  • Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
  • Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
  • Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
  • Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.

What health problems can high cholesterol cause?

If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture (break open). This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.

If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

How do I know if I have high cholesterol?

There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high cholesterol. There is a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:

For people who are age 19 or younger:

  • The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
  • Children should have the test again every 5 years
  • Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke

For people who are age 20 or older:

  • Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years

How can I lower my cholesterol?

You can lower your cholesterol through heart-healthy lifestyle changes. They include a heart-healthy eating plan, weight management, and regular physical activity.

If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. If you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.

Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.