People at increased risk for heart attack or stroke due to an irregular heart rhythm, existing blood vessel or heart disease, prior heart attack or stroke or other conditions, are often prescribed prescription blood thinning medications.
However, according to Healthline, many vitamins, foods, herbs, and spices act as natural blood thinners. These natural alternatives can be taken to reduce the risk for blood clotting, or in addition to prescription medications.
Important: ConsumerLab.com explains that some herbs and supplements can interfere with prescription anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin). It is essential to speak with your healthcare professional before trying these natural remedies.
According to Medical News Today, foods, spices, and vitamins that may act as natural blood thinners and help reduce the risk of clots include:
1. Turmeric. This golden, aromatic spice contains the active ingredient, curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning 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. Use it in rice, curries or as a tea.
2. Ginger. This anti-inflammatory spice may prevent blood clotting, according to Healthline. It contains a natural acid called salicylate, which is the active ingredient in aspirin, also a potent blood thinner. Use fresh or dried ginger regularly in baking, cooking, and juices.
3. Cayenne pepper. Cayenne peppers are also high in salicylates and can act as powerful blood-thinning agents. They are spicy so you may prefer to take capsules instead. According to Healthline, cayenne pepper has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce pain.
4. Vitamin E. According to WebMD, Harvard Medical School professor of medicine Robert J. Glynn says vitamin E shows promise in preventing the potentially deadly clots in high-risk patients who aren't on prescription blood thinners like warfarin. "Warfarin is very effective, but it has a lot of side effects and people must be monitored closely when they are on it," Glynn tells WebMD. 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. According to Medical News Today, it may be safer to get vitamin E from foods rather than supplements. Foods that contain vitamin E include:
- safflower oil
- sunflower oil
- sunflower seeds
- wheat germ oil
- whole grains
5. Some researchers report that taking odorless garlic, such as aged garlic extract or AGE, helps reduce blood clot formation. Dr. Matthew Budoff, a UCLA cardiologist, says that taking AGE supplements can also reverse arterial plaque buildup thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Several research papers written by German scientists suggest that AGE could prevent arterial stiffness by maintaining the flexibility of the arteries and enhancing nitric oxide availability, which relaxes the blood vessels and reduces the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Cinnamon. This popular, aromatic spice contains coumarin, a powerful blood-thinning agent. Warfarin, the most used blood-thinning drug, is derived from coumarin, according to Medical News Today. Taking coumarin-rich cinnamon on a long-term basis can cause liver damage, so stick to small amounts.
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