Blood thinners or anticoagulants are medications that prevent the formation of blood clots. They also retain the current blood clots from getting bigger. Clots in the arteries, veins, and heart can cause various conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and blockages.
There are two chief kinds of blood thinners: anticoagulants and antiplatelets. Anticoagulants such as heparin or warfarin also termed Coumadin slow down your body’s development of creating clots. Antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, prevent the blood cells that are called platelets, from clunking together to form a clot.
Why anticoagulants/blood thinning medications are used?
You may hear that the risk of a heart attack can be lowered by monitoring the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol regularly. In this regard, the blood thinning medications also help in such a way that they reduce the formation of blood clots. Blood clots are made up of platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells and fibrin (a protein). The blood thinning medications stop these blood components to stick together or to combine for forming a clot. If they combine and form a clot then this clot can block the flow of blood to your heart or brain that leads to heart attack or stroke.
Usually, doctors recommend blood thinners if a patient has any of these:
- Have had a heart valve surgery (a heart valve replacement)
- Particular heart or blood vessel illnesses
- An irregular heart rhythm that is named atrial fibrillation
- Risk of blood clots after surgery
- Congenital heart defects
What are natural blood thinners/anticoagulants?
If you are taking blood thinning medications then you don’t have to depend on them because there are many foods that contain the properties of blood thinning and can inhibit the blood components to aggregate. Thus, these foods have the potential of naturally thinning the blood and lowering therisk of several cardiovascular illnesses.
Here are the natural blood thinners/anticoagulants as well as precautions are also listed in this article while taking the natural bloodthinners.
1- Red Wine:
It is considered that red wine has a protective effect against coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis.
According to research, it is found that the ethanol and the bio-active compounds (trans-resveratrol and quercetin) in red wine together work as blood thinners. So, drinking a glass of red wine might be a good idea!
Beetroots are an abundant source of nitrates which have the ability to improve heart health. They can also reduce the blood coagulation significantly.
A study was conducted in which blood of healthy volunteers are tested after they have consumed 500mL of a beetroot juice and the results showed increased levels of nitrates and decreased the accumulation of platelets.
Beets also help in lowering the blood pressure.
It has been found that tomatoes and the products made of tomatoes such as tomato juice, ketchup, and pasta sauce inhibit the aggregation of platelets. The natural compounds such as caffeic, ferulic, chlorogenic, and p-oumaric acids in these tomato products may be responsible for the naturally thinning the blood.
4- Fish and Fish Oil:
A diet that is rich in fish and fish oil can make the blood thin because of the natural ability of blood thinning of the omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a study in which healthy students were given a diet of fish or fish oil, after 15 weeks it has been found that platelet aggregation was reduced in the students who were given the fish or fish oil diet.
5- Dark Chocolate:
Cocoa contains flavonoids that have the blood thinning ability.
In a study that was conducted to assess the effects of dark, white and milk chocolate, reduced platelet aggregation was found in those participants who consumed dark chocolate.
As compared to dark chocolate, white and milk chocolate contains less cocoa and so they haven’t any significant effect on the blood clotting. Go for dark chocolate that is rich in cocoa and flavonoids.
Animal research, in which monkeys were fed with grapes juice for 7 days, proves the fact that grapes have the natural blood thinning effect because of flavonoids they contain.
The flavonoids that include quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin could cause the blood thinning because, in the lab studies, they have been found to reduce the platelet accumulation.
So, you can start your day with a tasty glass of grapes juice that protects your heart.
7- Garlic & Onion:
Sulfur-containing compounds for example adenosine, paraffinic polysulfides, and allicin that are present in garlic and onions can act as the blood thinners. According to research, among these compounds, adenosine can be the most influential.
Garlic and onions can lower the blood pressure and so keeps the heart healthy.
The dry ginger and the extracts of the raw ginger have the ability to decrease the formation of the blood clots.
In a study, the researchers intentionally increased the platelet accumulation in healthy men when they fed 100g of butter for 7 days. But, platelet accumulation was inhibited when these men consumed 5g of dry ginger in their fatty meals.
Ginger can also lower the cholesterol and contains anti-inflammatory properties – greatly beneficial for the heart health.
Ginseng is a herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a very long time due to its various health benefits from strengthening the immune system to relieving the stress.
It also has to the ability to naturally thin the blood. Red ginseng roots contain saponin (a chemical compound) called as “ginsenoside Rg1” that has the ability to inhibit the aggregation of platelets.
10- Vitamin E:
Vitamin E is recognized for its blood thinning effects. When it is taken orally, it can reduce the platelet accumulation by improving the sensitivity to prostaglandin E1 (it is platelet-reducing fatty acid).
Remember the recommended dosage of vitamin E, that is, 22.4 IU per day intake for an adult and the upper limit is 1,100 IU per day (for supplements with the synthetic vitamin E) and 1,500 IU per day (for supplements from natural vitamin E). In case of overdose, an individual has the risk of developing serious conditions such as hemorrhagic stroke.
If you don’t want to take supplements, there is a variety of natural sources of vitamin E for example nuts (almonds, peanuts), vegetable oils (like wheat germ, safflower) and vegetables (like spinach, broccoli).
If you are taking any anticoagulants or blood thinning medications, natural blood thinners perform the same function may amplify the effect of blood thinning medications. Before start using any natural blood thinner on your own, the best way is to discuss with your doctor about it.
Most importantly, remember that a balanced diet plays the most vital part in keeping the heart healthy.
***Disclaimer: The content presented in this article is purely for informational and educational purposes and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please use this material when consulting a professional and certified physician or healthcare provider.