The Top 10 Blood Thinning Foods

by Jori Geck March 21, 2021

Blood clotting is our body’s way of preventing excessive bleeding in case of injury or cut. This is an important process carried out by the proteins and platelets in our blood that work together to stop the bleeding by formulating a blood clot(1). Vitamin K is also an important factor in blood clotting, it is used in the synthesis of multiple blood coagulation factors that are vital to the process (8). Here is a list of the top foods you can eat to help thin your blood.

10 Foods That Thin Your Blood

Ginger

As mentioned earlier, a common way to thin your blood is by using an acetylsalicylic acid. Ginger holds a natural chemical found in plants called salicylate acid, which is what acetylsalicylic acid is synthetically derived from so it holds a lot of the same benefits. Ginger's salicylic acid property is a natural way to thin your blood and can be used to prevent heart attack and stroke (4). There are a handful of other foods that contain salicylate acid such as: 

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Most vegetables
  • Cherries
  • Coffee
  • Garlic

Garlic

Garlic has been around for centuries and is used for many different therapeutic purposes. One of those purposes is its prevention of thrombosis, thrombosis is a term used to describe the clotting of blood in a certain part of the circulatory system. Garlic has been shown to inhibit platelet adhesions, which lowers your chance of having a mobile blood clot travel throughout your veins in the body. Garlic also increases the elasticity of blood vessels, which helps the delivery of blood through your circulatory system (9). Furthermore, garlic is a great food to add to your diet to assist in natural blood thinning. It has many uses in dishes and can be an added flavor to salad dressings, sauces, vegetables, and stews.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice widely known for the variety of benefits that it offers. One of those being, and natural blood thinner. Turmeric holds an active ingredient called curcumin, which works as an anticoagulant. An anticoagulant can be used to prevent the formation of blood clots, thereby lowering your chances of getting one(4). Turmeric also works as an anti-inflammatory which reduces your chances of heart disease, and cancer. Ways you can incorporate turmeric into your diet include smoothies, soups, and adding it to scrambled eggs.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is another food high in salicylates. This spice is an anticoagulant that assists with natural blood-thinning abilities. Cayenne pepper increases circulation, which helps the blood from getting stuck and clotting. Along with its anticoagulation benefits, it also lowers blood pressure and reduces pain sensations (5). Although cayenne pepper holds many benefits, some people have a hard time consuming it because of how spicy it is. Ways to get these benefits and avoid the spice is taking it in capsule form, or finely ground it up and use it in small moderations.

Vitamin E

Studies show Vitamin E has major blooding thinning capabilities, it does this by inhibiting the blood-clotting agent Vitamin K. As mentioned before, Vitamin K is used in the blood clotting process and in charge of producing the factors that are necessary to do it. Now, while we are looking to find ways to naturally thin our blood, we mustn't negatively affect the Vitamins our bodies use to heal injuries and cuts. It is recommended for adults to take a daily amount of 15 milligrams of Vitamin E a day. However, it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider to ensure you are consuming the right amount to avoid complications (6). You can incorporate vitamin E through supplementation or food.

Here are some foods that contain Vitamin E (5):

  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Green leafy vegetables

Cinnamon

Adding cinnamon to your diet is a great way to incorporate a natural blood thinner. Cinnamon contains a mighty blood-thinning agent called coumarin. One of the most common blood-thinning medications Warfarin is derived from this natural compound coumarin. Coumarin also works as an anti-inflammatory that can lower blood pressure, these benefits will decrease your chances of a blood clot traveling to our hearts or lungs (5). Ways you can add cinnamon to your diet is putting it in smoothies, stews, and yogurt.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China that has been around for thousands of years. It is known for its variety of uses, including its ability to improve blood circulation and heart health. People who suffer from blood disorders have been known to take this and see positive results. A study shows ginkgo presents quick results with increasing the circulation of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is responsible for opening up blood vessels, the opening of these blood vessels decreases the risk of blood clots getting stuck and causing serious problems. (10). You can incorporate Ginkgo Biloba by boiling it and adding it to a dish or take it in supplement form.

Salmon

Salmon provides countless benefits due to its high amounts of omega-3s, one of those benefits being a natural anticoagulant. The important omega-3s are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). A study shows DHA, EPA, and fats from omega-3 make nitric acid. As mentioned before, nitric acid is in charge of relaxing the blood vessels, so this leads to improved blood flow and decreased chances of clots (11). You can take fish oil supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids or through food.

Here are some other foods that contain high levels of omega-3: 

  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Sardine
  • Chia Seeds
  • Plant oils

Bromelain

Bromelain might sound unfamiliar, but it is a protein-digesting enzyme that stems from pineapple. The way bromelain is composed offers numerous therapeutic effects, one of which is an inhibitor of blood platelet aggregation. This means the enzyme helps reduce the chances of a blood clot. Studies have shown this enzyme helps reduce the chance of getting a stroke, a heart attack, thrombosis, and other heart diseases that stem from blood clotting (12). You can consume this enzyme from the pineapple juice, having it extracted from the stem/core, or taking it in supplement form.

Dark Chocolate

You might think, isn't chocolate bad for me? While it does contain fat and sugar, the good news is it has beneficial properties. Dark chocolate contains a compound called flavanol, flavanol has the capability of breaking platelet clumps that could be blocking blood vessels and causing a heart attack or stroke (13). While we aren't suggesting consuming an abundance of dark chocolate bars, having a modest amount once in a while can provide you some benefits.

Tip: Avoid these foods if you're taking Coumadin

When taking Coumadin, any food high in Vitamin K should be avoided. Vitamin K acts as a coagulant and counteracts blood thinning medications like Coumadin. For the most part, avoid leafy greens like spinach, kale, asparagus, and broccoli. This also includes Brussel sprouts and cranberries.

If you're not sure whether a food is approved to eat while on blood thinners, ask your physician so you can learn the amount of vitamin K each has.
 
Conclusion

While blood-thinning medications are widely used, it’s not common information that natural foods can offer the same benefit. Before taking these foods, please consult with your doctor or healthcare provider, especially if you are on a blood thinning medication like Coumadin.

As mentioned, avoiding blood clots is very important as it will help you avoid a heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and other heart-related diseases. Adding the spices and incorporating the foods mentioned is a great natural remedy to avoid medication dependency and naturally thin your blood. 

This information is not meant to be medical advice. Please consult with your physician or a medical professional before consuming any medication or food.


References

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/low-dose-aspirin/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure/best-natural-blood-thinners#turmeric
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322384#vitamin-e
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC41118/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC41118/#:~:text=Vitamin%20E%20in%20the%20reduced,ischemic%20heart%20disease%20and%20stroke.
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-e/art-20364144#:~:text=Vitamin%20E%20is%20also%20available,is%2015%20milligrams%20a%20day.
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321262/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/
  9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ginkgo-biloba-benefits#section3
  10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/salmon-oil-benefits#section3
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3529416/
  12. https://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Heartening-news-for-chocoholics-As-a-blood-2484
Jori Geck
Jori Geck

Jori Geck has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Central Michigan University. Jori is a full-time Nutritionist at NuVision Health Center and has a desire to share her passion of healing the body with food, and improving overall health in natural, sustainable ways.



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