Anticoagulants are substances that reduce the formation of or the ability of blood to clot. Complimenting your medication with food that is rich in anticoagulant properties is a good idea for stroke patients.
The most common anticoagulant medications Warfarin and Aspirin, are taken to prevent unnecessary blood clots in the body. Natural anticoagulants can also help in thinning the blood with the added bonus of providing nutrients to lower stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, excess body weight, and diabetes.
Fruits are a great source of anticoagulants. Dietitians recommend 2-3 servings a day. Although fruit juice may be seen as a healthy alternative, you should always try to seek out whole, ripe, fresh, raw fruit.
Care must be given if you are on Warfarin and looking to add natural anticoagulants to your diet. You may be required to check your International Normalized Ration, as this could affect your Warfarin dosage. If you are interested it is best to consult your nutritionist first on how to incorporated natural anticoagulants into your regime.
Fruits and Spices are great anticoagulants
Grapes contain flavonoids which are phytonutrients that reduce blood clotting properties. Grapes also have a compound called resveratrol, which can also be found in red wine. Resveratrol is touted for many health benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition actually recommends a glass of red wine a day for this benefit.
The American College of Cardiology has reported that purple grape juice has a stronger antiplatelet activity that aspirin. Research showed drinking two cups of purple grape juice daily for 7 days achieved a greater reduction in platelet aggregation than some previously reported levels by aspirin.
Similar phytonutrients found in grapes are also found in apples. Research by UC Davis School of Medicine found that drinking a 12-ounce glass of apple juice (non-sweetened) daily for a period of 6 weeks resulted the breakdown of LDL or bad cholesterol, which is often associated with stroke.
Pineapples are well known as a fibre source, and can aid in removing harmful toxins in the blood and also bad cholesterol. For this very reason it is often recommended to people who suffer from high blood pressure. Pineapples also contain the natural anticoagulant called bromelain. Bromelain breaks down fibrin, which is a protein in the blood that causes clotting.
There are also a range of herbs and spices with anticoagulant properties. Ginger has been known to make blood platelets “less sticky”. Other sources include curry powder, cayenne powder, thyme, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, dill, tumeric, and peppermint.
The added bonus of anticoagulant benefits from fruit and vegetables is just one more reason to add them to your diet. Please talk to your nutritionist on how best to incorporate them into your diet with your current medication, and report any sudden changes of diet that you implement to your health care providers.
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