Foods That Thin Blood

Blood thinners are often prescribed by doctors as treatment for or prevention in people who have high blood pressure or other risk factors for stroke or heart disease. The prescription medication choices involve taking Plavix or Coumadin (warfarin). They are also used to protect a person from pulmonary thrombosis or pulmonary embolus. These are medical conditions that result from having a blood clot in the deep veins of the calf that goes up to the lung, also called a deep vein thrombosis. The prescription medications help prevent the formation of blood clots so that thrombosis does not occur. There are, unfortunately, several dangerous side effects from taking these blood thinners, so some people have begun to look for foods that thin blood without having to take pills.

7 Foods Types That Thin Blood

There are several kinds of foods out there that act as blood thinners for the body. If you can incorporate these foods into your diet, you can prevent blood clots and keep the blood vessels open. You should know, however, that you can cause your blood to become overly thin so that you bruise easily and have cuts that do not stop healing. Thus foods that thin blood need to be carefully chosen as part of your diet, and you should talk to the doctor before changing your diet.

These are some foods to consider that have their own blood thinning properties:

1.   Salicylates

Foods with salicylates in them will block the effectiveness of vitamin K that plays an important role in blood clotting. Aspirin is perhaps the one that is the best known for this effect; however, there are foods and spices that also contain salicylates. These can be incorporated into the diet and will effectively thin the blood by acting against vitamin K.

Some foods that are high in salicylates are fruits, particularly those that have been dried; various kinds of nuts; and spices, including thyme, ginger, dill, oregano, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, peppermint, licorice, paprika, and turmeric.

2.   Vitamin E

Foods containing vitamin E are antagonistic to vitamin K. Many foods are preserved using vitamin E, so you should read food labels with care. Vitamin E supplements are also recommended to people who have fibrocystic breast disease and extreme night sweats. If you take certain vitamin E complex supplements, you can get all of the eight sources of vitamin E available. The tablets absorb better if you have had your gallbladder taken out.

The best sources of vitamin E are spinach and broccoli, but you should not take them because of high amounts of vitamin K in them. Good sources of vitamin E rich foods that thin blood are sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower oil, red bell peppers, kiwi, and wheat germ oil.

3.   Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids have recently been found to be good food to take in because they decrease blood clotting and lessen cholesterol levels. You can easily incorporate many of these foods as part of a healthy diet. They are also available to be taken as a supplement.

Foods you can take that have a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids in them include anchovies, albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, and lake trout.

4.   Antibiotic Foods

There are some foods that are naturally antibiotics—known to destroy bacteria in the intestine that are responsible for making vitamin K. Even small quantities of these foods can cause bleeding in people who are already deficient in vitamin K.

The main foods that have natural antibiotic properties are onions and garlic. This means you should not eat many Italian foods because they often have a lot of garlic in them.

5.   Bromelain

Bromelain is an enzyme that helps thin the blood. As one of the foods that thin blood, foods with bromelain in them also have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory abilities. Bromelain works better when taken alongside ginger and turmeric.

The main foods that contain bromelain are pineapples and pineapple juice. They can be taken alone or spiced up with ginger and turmeric for better blood thinner effect.

6.   Water

Believe it or not, water is a great blood thinner. If the body is dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker and the platelets are more likely to clump together, forming a clot.

Experts recommend that you consume about 0.5 ounces of water for every pound your weigh per day to help thin the blood and prevent excessive blood clotting.

7.   Alcohol/Wine

It has long been known that alcohol use reduces the activation and aggregation of platelets. Alcoholics, it turns out, have been found to be deficient in vitamin K and infants born to alcoholic mothers often have vitamin K deficiency.

While just about any kind of alcohol has the potential to reduce vitamin K levels, red wine is found to be the most potent. Red wine contains polyphenols and proanthocyanadins as part of their pigment that keeps the blood from clotting prematurely. However, alcohol does some damage to the liver, so take it with care.

Other Natural Ways to Help Thin Blood

Besides foods that thin blood, there are other things you can do to keep your blood thin naturally. Here are some good tips:

  • Sunshine. Sunshine has been found to maximize circulation and to keep the blood thin. It is believed to be helpful because sunshine gives us vitamin D when we expose the skin to the sun.
  • Exercise. People who exercise too much run the risk of having vitamin K levels that are too low. It has been found in elite women athletes that they have vitamin K deficiencies. So exercise regularly but not too much.
  • Avoid foods that thicken the blood. There are some foods that cause the blood to thicken. These include kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, cauliflower, asparagus, leeks, and celery. You shouldn't eat these foods if you want to have thin blood. 
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