SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Last week we talked about blood clots that often form in the deep veins of the lower legs.
This condition is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT and can lead to serious illness, disability, or in severe cases, death.
But the good news is, our health expert, Karen Owoc, is here with some foods and drinks that can reduce your risk for blood clots.
DVTs That Travel to the Lungs (Pulmonary Embolism)
Blood clots often form in the deep veins of the lower legs and can break off, travel to the lungs, and block blood flow —-> pulmonary embolism.
Symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) — A medical emergency!
• Sudden shortness of breath (check oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter)
• Sharp chest pain (often comes with coughing or movement)
• Pain in the back
• Unusual sweating
• Fast heartbeat
• Feeling dizzy or fainting
DVTs are Treatable and Preventable
• Reduce risk factors
• Follow an “anti-DVT diet”
Foods/Drinks that Can Keep Blood Flowing and Prevent Dangerous Blood Clots
- Drink plenty of fluids — or eat your fluids.
• Blood is made up of liquids and solids.
• Plasma is 90% water and makes up 55% of total blood volume.
• Dehydration can cause blood to thicken leading to an increased for forming a blood clot.
• Fruits and vegetables contain a high percentage of water.
How much water? 1/2 your weight in ounces (e.g., if you weigh 160 lbs., you need 80 oz water or 10 cups)
• The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink 13 cups (3 liters) and women need 9 cups (2.2 liters) every day.
• Coffee and tea count as part of your daily fluid intake. (No sugar and no cream.)
NOTE: If you are on diuretics or have kidney disease, talk to your doctor about your water intake limits.
Signs of Dehydration (Urine Color)
• Pale yellow or clear (intake adequate)
• Amber-colored (like apple juice) or darker (inadequate intake of fluids)
- Sip Red/Purple Juice or Red Wine
The antioxidants (anthocyanins) in red/purple grapes as well as pomegranates, dark cherries (the red/blue/purple plants) help keep blood platelets from sticking together, which form clots. The antioxidants reduce platelet activity
Platelets react to bleeding by clumping together. According to researchers, these antioxidants help prevent platelets from sticking together.
- Go for Raw Garlic
Scientists found that raw garlic could promote antiplatelet activity, and thus prevent the “clumping” of platelets in the bloodstream.
DO Eat Garlic This Way
Retains antiplatelet strength:
• Roast at 400˚F for 3 min. or less
• Heat for 6 minutes, if crushed
• Boil for 3 min or less
NOTE: Crushing garlic before moderate cooking reduces the antiplatelet effect, so eat more crushed-cooked garlic if you’re crushing it.
DO NOT: Eat Garlic This Way
Reduces antiplatelet strength:
• Roast at 400˚K or boiling for more than 10 minutes
• Heat for 6 minutes, if uncrushed
NOTE: If you’re on a blood thinner, lots of garlic could interfere with the medication’s effectiveness, you should talk to your doctor about how much garlic you can safely eat.
- Eat Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin K, which plays a key role in helping the blood to clot and prevent excessive bleeding.
• For example, three cups of arugula daily will supply 100% of what the body needs of vitamin K. It also contains eight times more calcium than iceberg lettuce.
Dark green leafy vegetables provide a number of health benefits including:
• Protecting bones from osteoporosis
• Prevent against inflammatory diseases
• Prevent some cancers
Why do doctors tell some patients on blood thinners to avoid all green leaf veggies?
Good Sources Green Sources of Vit K
The best way to get the daily requirement of vitamin K is by eating food sources. Vitamin K is found in the following foods:
• Green leafy vegetables: e.g., kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, romaine, and green leaf lettuce
- Use Virgin Olive Oil to Cut Your Blood Clot Risk
Being overweight is a risk factor for blood clots, but according to an American Heart Association study of 63 nonsmoking obese* adults (average age 32.2 y/o and a BMI of 44.1), consuming olive oil at least once a week reduced platelet activity.
Reduced platelet activity may indicate that olive oil may lower the chances for developing a blood clot.
Skip the butter on your bread, and dip it in olive oil. Spritz cooking and baking pans with olive oil.
*Obesity is defined as having a BMI >30.
The Takeaway: Remember, what you eat becomes a part of you. Having healthy blood vessels and a healthy heart and brain start with how well you stock your kitchen and how well you feed yourself.