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Natural Blood Thinner 1: Salicylates

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There are a number of foods and supplements that are known to thin the blood. These include foods with high amounts of aspirin-like substances called salicylates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E supplements, and foods with natural antibiotic properties.
People taking prescription anti-coagulant drugs also need to be careful not to consume too many foods with natural blood thinning compounds in addition to their regular medication. 

Blood coagulation should fall within a desirable range. If it coagulates too easily, clots can form which in turn can lead to adverse health conditions such as heart attacks. If blood doesn’t clot enough, conditions such as bleeding from the nose aka (nosebleeds or epistaxis), hemorrhages, hematuria (blood in the urine), heavy periods in women, and bleeding strokes may occur. If a person’s blood isn’t clotting enough and he has surgery or a traumatic event like a car accident, he could have a serious problem by losing too much blood from wounds or surgical incisions failing to clot properly.

Some of the foods that are generally thought to have natural blood thinning compounds will posted in this and future posts. Please note that this is a hodge-podge list based on information collected from various sources, so it’s possible it may contain some errors. See your doctor before you implement any diet, supplement or exercise changes, especially if you are taking any prescription medications or have any health concerns related to coagulation.

Salicylates

One type of natural blood thinners are substances that block vitamin K known as salicylates. The most well known of these is aspirin, but many foods, such as preservatives and flavorings, also contain salicylates or aspirin-like substances. Some individuals are known to be aspirin or salicylate sensitive. I’m one of those salicylate sensitive types, but I have found that I can eat more salicylates as long as I eat a balanced amount of vitamin K foods. (Vitamin K plays an important role in the body’s in blood clotting processes. The “K” in vitamin K gets its name from the Danish word for coagulation.)

Foods that are higher in salicylates include many spices, most fruits, especially dried fruits, nuts, and also some flavorings and preservatives.

Ginger is known as a warming spice in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Herbs and spices high in salicylates include:

  • Curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ginger
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Licorice
  • Peppermint

In Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) many of the above spices are known as “warming spices”. This may be because thinning the blood they increase a person’s blood circulation, which in turn speeds up the metabolism and makes a person feel warmer.

 

Fruits high in salicylates include

  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Oranges

Other substances high in salicylates:

  • Chewing gum
  • Honey
  • Peppermints
  • Vinegar
  • Wine
  • Cider

Though there are some exceptions, in general most meat, fish, dairy, grains and vegetable foods are not high in salicylates. Many types of fish do however have blood thinning properties due to their omega-3 fatty acid content, as noted below.

A 2001 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found the salicylate content of organic foods to be higher than conventional foods. So if you are salicylate sensitive or have unexplained easy bleeding issues, you may want to experiment and see if you feel better by not eating organic foods.

Hopes this helps someone.

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Beet Juice to Lower Blood Pressure

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More and more evidence is showing you can’t beat the heart healthy benefits of beet juice. It provides long-lasting energy, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, enhances oxygen uptake, and increases stamina. A new study from the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology confirms that drinking beet juice regularly can improve exercise endurance.


Boost Exercise Stamina with Beet Juice

In this small-scale study 14 healthy males drank beet juice for 15 days. Scientists measured blood pressure and heart function both at rest and while the men performed progressive cycling. Results indicated that the heart required less oxygen and blood pressure was lowered.4_165_BeetJuice_720

Beet juice contains a high concentration of antioxidants and inorganic nitrates that help boost blood flow throughout the body—to the brain, heart, and muscles. It increases production of a molecule in blood vessels called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels relax and open up, thereby increasing oxygen flow to the heart and muscles so you can exercise stronger for longer.

Lower Blood Pressure with Beet Juice

Beet juice has also demonstrated a remarkable effect on blood pressure. A meta-analysis of studies from 2006-2012 showed very obvious reductions in blood pressure among the 254 people tested, especially in systolic blood pressure. When it comes to lowering blood pressure, beat juice outperforms whole beets. All it takes is one to two glasses of beet juice a day!

Flax Seed for Hypertension

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Did You Know…that flax seeds may be a cheap, natural treatment for hypertension?

High blood pressure (hypertension) affects 1 in 3 Americans (68 million and counting) and is the number one reason for doctor’s visits.

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) considers a reading of 140/90 mm Hg indicative of hypertension. 

The risks of high blood pressure include cognitive impairment, aneurysm, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and stroke, among other life-threatening conditions.  Blood pressure medications—diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers—come with assorted side effects, including:

  • Loss of essential minerals and subsequent nutrient deficiency
  • Kidney damage
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Digestive disorders
  • Elevated triglycerides (blood fats) and LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Vision problems
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Anemia

flaxseed-1 One natural remedy for hypertension that has shown great promise in recent studies is flax seeds.  Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber, and lignans (an antioxidant that protects against oxidative damage).

Change Your Diet, Lower Your Blood Pressure

Previous animal studies have demonstrated the positive effect of flax seeds on hypertension, but a recent study published in the journal Hypertension is one of the first to show that flax seeds lower blood pressure in humans.

Hypertension is a common symptom of peripheral artery disease—a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries of the leg.  For the study, researchers separated 110 people with peripheral artery disease into two groups.

 One group ate 30 grams (1 ounce) of milled flax seed in the form of muffins, pasta, and bagels every day for one year.

 The control group ate the same fare for the same amount of time, but with no flax seed mixed in.

After six months, 24 people had dropped out of the study. Of the remaining patients…

 Those in the flax seed group who started with a systolic blood pressure reading of at least 140 found their blood pressure lowered by an average of 15 mm Hg.  The diastolic (the bottom) number also lowered an average of 7 mm Hg.

 Patients not on the flax seed diet showed no changes in their blood pressure readings.

These impressive results were only with participants who began the study with high blood pressure.  The study authors noted that flax seeds did not appear to lower the blood pressure of patients who started the study with normal readings.

A different study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that flaxseed oil lowered the blood pressure of patients with dyslipidemia—a condition characterized by either too high or too low amounts of cholesterol or fat in the blood:

 After 12 weeks of supplementation with flaxseed oil patients showed significant improvement in both systolic and diastolic numbers, while patients in the control group who supplemented with safflower oil did not exhibit such gains. 

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Experts warn against swapping out your blood pressure medications for flax seeds just yet.  More human tests need to be conducted.  But we can certainly add hypertension to the list of possible ailments flax seeds may help protect against.  So far, flax seeds have been discovered to possibly decrease the risk of breast cancer… inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancer cells… and neutralize damage caused by radiation therapy.