Blood clotting has a bad reputation. We associate it with heart problems. But it’s, of course, an essential process. Blood clots stop you from bleeding. And without them, even a relatively minor injury could become deadly.
But it’s true that clots can also form in your body when they aren’t necessary. And those unwanted clots can be killers too. They can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
Which is why it’s important to keep your blood thin and flowing, so it can easily pass through your veins and arteries. And it turns out there are foods that can help you do just that.
Following are five foods which can thin the blood naturally. And while they don’t pack the same wallop as a blood thinning medication, eating more of them may help reduce your risk for blood clots.
1. Cayenne peppers:
Spicy cayenne peppers are loaded with a naturally occurring acid called salicylate. Salicylate is a natural blood thinner. And if the name sounds a bit familiar to you, that’s because aspirin is made from a synthetic version of the acid.
If you’re a hot food fan using more cayenne in your dishes could help keep your blood thin, reducing your risk of blood clots while improving circulation and lowering your blood pressure. But if you’re not a spicy food connoisseur, or can only tolerate a bit of heat, you can look for cayenne capsules online or anywhere they sell supplements.
Or try blood thinning food number two instead, which has less of a bite, but could help fight clots in much the same way.
You may already know that ginger is a terrific natural anti-inflammatory. But the tangy bite of this tasty spice comes with another benefit, and that’s the potential to reduce your risk for blood clots.
Like cayenne peppers, ginger is a good source of blood thinning salicylate acid. Which means using more of the fresh or dried spice in your cooking could be a way to fight off unwanted clots.
3. Sunflower seeds:
I developed a love for sunflower seeds when I was a kid, which I still haven’t kicked to this day. But it turns out my seed eating habit is a good thing because my sunflower obsession might be helping me reduce my risk of potentially deadly blood clots. And they may do the same for you too.
Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. And experts say vitamin E helps naturally thin our blood.
Other good sources of this valuable vitamin are almonds, hazelnuts, wheat germ oil, hazelnut oil and almond oil. Vitamin E is also available as a supplement, but be sure to talk with your doctor before taking it, especially if you’re already on any blood thinning medications.
If you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader, there’s a very good chance you’re already taking turmeric if you suffer from joint pain or are fighting abnormal cholesterol or memory issues. I regularly recommend turmeric. And this natural anti-inflammatory has truly earned its reputation as a superfood.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is responsible for its inflammation fighting prowess. And it turns out this same ingredient is behind the golden spice’s ability to potentially reduce the risk of blood clots.
A study published in the Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology found that a daily dose of turmeric might help folks avoid unwanted blood clots.
Turmeric is often used in curries to give them their rich golden color. It’s also great in soups and can be used to make a soothing tea. Or you can find curcumin or turmeric supplements online and in health food stores.
But keep in mind turmeric can be so effective that if you’re already on any blood thinning medications you should talk with your doctor before using the spice.
Herring and other wild-caught fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, sardines and tuna are rich in omega-3 rich fish oil. Fish oil is a natural inflammation fighter which has a boatload of health benefits from lowering heart disease risk to protecting your brain.
Plus experts say fish oil is also a natural blood thinner, which means it could help reduce your risk for blood clots too. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a combination of fish and fish oil supplements could reduce the risk of deep vein blood clots by up to 50 percent.
Which means eating more fish and taking a supplement may help thin your blood reducing your risk for unwanted clots, too. But keep in mind that while recent research has found that fish oil doesn’t increase the chances for bleeding, anyone taking a blood thinning medication should always check with their doctor before eating significantly more fish or taking a supplement.
While blood thinning foods aren’t as powerful as drugs, regularly eating them may reduce your risk of having to take one of these potent drugs to begin with.