Blood clots are your body's way of healing wounds. Platelets in your blood respond to an injury, like a cut, by sticking together to stop the bleeding. Some foods affect the ability of your body to form a clot. These foods may thicken or thin blood. Consult your doctor before beginning a new diet program, particularly if you are trying to control a condition related to bleeding.
Foods with Vitamin E
Foods high in vitamin E and low in vitamin K will thin your blood and make clotting more difficult. Almonds and hazelnuts are two good sources of vitamin E. One tablespoon of wheat germ oil contains 100 percent of your daily value for vitamin E. Other oils where you can find the vitamin include corn, peanut, sesame and sunflower oils. You can also take the nutrient as a supplement. If you are taking a prescription blood thinner, increasing your intake of foods with vitamin E might overly thin your blood.
Foods with Vitamin K
Foods with a lot of vitamin K in them work to thicken your blood. Vitamin K helps blood clot properly. You can find it in Brussels sprouts, chard, spinach, kale, green tea, collard greens, parsley, and mustard greens. Broccoli, cauliflower, egg yolk and soybeans also contain high amounts of the nutrient. If you are taking a prescription blood thinner, increasing your consumption of these foods could counteract the effects of your medication. Discuss your diet with your doctor.
Herbs and Spices
Vitamin E isn't the only product that can thin your blood. Herbs, spices and supplements may also promote bleeding. The products you sprinkle in your food such as cayenne, garlic, ginger and onion act as blood thinners. Dong quai, green tea, Saint John's wort and white willow bark also thin your blood. The enzyme Nattokinase is known as an especially strong anticoagulant. You would need to have a high intake of dietary herbs and spices to see blood thinning action, but taking these compounds in supplemental form could cause a significant effect. If you are taking prescription medications, talk with your doctor before adding herbs or spices to your diet so your medication can be adjusted accordingly.
Alcohol and Other Drinks
Certain drinks will thin your blood, including cranberry juice, alcohol, chamomile tea and green tea. Cranberry juice helps prevent blood clotting by increasing the amount of salicylic acid in your body, according to the government site "Medline Plus." Salicylic acid prevents blood clotting. For chamomile, Dr. Ray Sahelian notes on his website that the effect as a blood thinner is "very mild."
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding and therefore consumption should be limited by those who are on a blood thinning regimen.
Is This an Emergency?
- Coumadin Medication Interaction with Herbs, Vitamins, Enzymes, Food, Diet and Natural Supplements: Risks and Side Effects
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- CBS News: Vitamin E May Lower Blood Clot Risk
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center
- Medline Plus: Cranberry