You might have heard that controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels can lower your risk of a heart attack. Blood thinner medications can also help by reducing the formation of blood clots. These are made up of platelets (fragments of blood cells), red blood cells, fibrin (protein), and white blood cells. Blood thinners stop these components from sticking together or aggregating to form a clot. Otherwise, they can block blood flow to your heart or brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Generally, doctors prescribe blood-thinning medication if you’ve had heart valve surgery, a heart defect, or atrial fibrillation. This condition is characterized by a heart that doesn’t beat properly. As a result, blood pools in the heart chamber, encouraging the formation of blood clots.
You don’t have to depend on medication, though. Many everyday foods have blood thinning properties. Let’s take a look at 5 natural blood thinners that can protect your heart in the best way.
Beets are a rich source of nitrates, which are known to improve heart health. They can also significantly reduce blood clotting. A study that tested the blood of healthy volunteers three hours after consuming 500 mL of beetroot juice noted increased nitrate levels and decreased platelet aggregation. Beets have also been found to lower blood pressure. Needless to say, they may protect your heart in more ways than one.
2. Red Wine
Red wine is considered to have a protective effect against atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Research has found that the ethanol and bio-active compounds trans-resveratrol and quercetin found in red wine double as blood thinners. So, kicking back with an occasional glass of red might not be a bad idea after all!
Tomatoes and tomato products like ketchup, tomato juice, and pasta sauce have been found to inhibit platelet aggregation. Natural compounds like caffeine, chlorogenic, ferulic, and p-coumaric acids in these products may be responsible.
4. Dark Chocolate
Flavonoids in cocoa can help thin the blood. A study that assessed the effects of white, milk, and dark chocolate found inhibited platelet aggregation in participants who consumed dark chocolate. White and milk chocolate, which have less cocoa, did not have a significant effect on blood clotting. So there you go – another reason to love chocolate. Opt for the dark kind which is high in cocoa and flavonoids.
5. Fish And Fish Oil
A diet rich in fish and fish oil can thin the blood. A study that gave healthy students a fish or fish oil diet found that platelet aggregation reduced after 15 weeks in both groups. Specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are thought to have a natural blood thinning effect.
A Note Of Caution
When you get a cut or wound, the clotting property of blood stops bleeding and blood loss. If you’ve been prescribed medication that thins the blood, eating foods that do the same may amplify the medication’s effect. It is best to talk to your doctor about this. Finally, don’t forget that a balanced diet plays an important part in keeping your heart healthy.