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Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin

by
author image Stephanie Crumley Hill
Stephanie Crumley Hill is a childbirth educator who for more than 20 years has written professionally about pregnancy, family and a variety of health and medical topics. A former print magazine editor, her insurance articles for “Resource” magazine garnered numerous awards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia.
Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
If you are taking blood thinners, you may need to limit broccoli consumption. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Overview

Anticoagulant medications are commonly called blood thinners. These medications do not actually cause the blood to be thin, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but instead prevent the blood from forming clots too quickly or easily. Blood clots can be dangerous, causing heart attacks, strokes and even death. If you are taking anticoagulant medication, your doctor may instruct you to avoid certain foods that can interact with your medication. These foods are generally high in vitamin K, which plays a role in how your blood clots. If you are taking anticoagulant medication, talk with your doctor before making any dietary changes.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Kale Photo Credit Mona Makela/iStock/Getty Images

While delicious and nutritious, leafy green vegetables' vitamin K content means your intake of these vegetables must be controlled. These vegetables include arugula, collards, kale, mustard greens, parsley, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens and wheat grass. Lettuces, such as green leaf lettuce, endive or romaine also contain vitamin K but in more moderate amounts.

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Cruciferous Vegetables

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Brussels sprouts Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Cruciferous vegetables are those from the Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family. These include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts, radish, horseradish and wasabi. A number of leafy greens, including mustard, arugula, watercress, kale, collard greens, bok choy and Chinese cabbage are also cruciferous vegetables.

Beans and Lentils

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Chickpeas Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Your doctor may recommend that you avoid chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and lentils if you are taking anticoagulant medications. This would also include foods made with chickpeas such as hummus or falafel.

Liver

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Liver pate Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

Liver is high in vitamin K. If you are taking anticoagulants, talk with your doctor before eating beef, pork or chicken liver, or products containing liver such as pate.

Herbs and Spices

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Ginger Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Both ginger and turmeric may affect the way your blood coagulates and should be limited when you are taking anticoagulants, according to the NIH.

Alcohol

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Alcohol Photo Credit Andrea Carolina Sanchez Gonzalez/iStock/Getty Images

While you may not think of alcohol as a food, it can interact with anticoagulants, and your intake should be limited. Your doctor may recommend avoiding all alcoholic beverages, or may instruct you to consume no more than three drinks per day. The NIH defines one drink as 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of liquor.

Other Foods

Foods to Avoid When the Blood is Too Thin
Strawberries Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Other foods that may contain more vitamin K than your doctor wishes you to consume include strawberries, seaweed (nori), tofu and other products made with soy protein, soybean oil, scallions (green onions) and green tea leaves. Talk with your doctor about whether or not these foods are a good choice for you.

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