Platelets are the part of your blood that causes it to clot, or aggregate. Although clotting is useful to repair the body after physical injury, blood clotting in arteries can also lead to heart problems. Many foods provide blood-thinning agents that reduce platelet aggregation. Always check with your doctor before consuming large amounts of blood-thinning foods, especially if you take medication to thin blood.
Fish and Shellfish
Fish and shellfish provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. In large amounts, these heart-healthy fats reduce platelet aggregation, helping to prevent artery blockage. Enjoy salmon, tuna, cod, scallops and shrimp. Walnuts, flaxseeds, oregano and cloves also provide these healthful fats.
Many vegetables contain omega-3 fats, including cauliflower, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, kale and cabbage. Some vegetables also contain salicylates, which are found in aspirin and thin the blood to prevent clotting. Salicylates occur naturally in cucumbers, alfalfa, mushrooms, radishes and zucchini, notes WebMD. According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, the Journal of the American Medical Association research suggests that tomato juice may decrease platelet aggregation. The study focused on the effects of tomato juice on people with type 2 diabetes. When choosing tomato juice, opt for the low-sodium varieties.
Berries, cherries, oranges and raisins also contain salicylates that reduce platelet aggregation, according to a study on the effects of salicylates found in food on cardiovascular health. According to World's Healthiest Foods, grapes also reduce platelet aggregation.
Flavorings and Additives
Salicylates appear in a variety of food additives, particularly flavorings. Baked foods, such as cakes and pies, often contain salicylates, as do beverages, candy, gum, ice cream and syrups. Many fruit and vanilla flavorings also contain these natural blood thinners.
Cinnamon releases cinnamaldehyde, which reduces platelet aggregation, according to World's Healthiest Foods. Garlic, ginger and turmeric also help to thin blood and prevent excessive clotting.
- Could Salicylates in Food Have Contributed to the Decline in Cardiovascular Disease Mortality? A New Hypothesis
- World's Healthiest Foods: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- World's Healthiest Foods: Cinnamon
- WebMD: The Basics of Salicylate Allergies
- World's Healthiest Foods: Grapes
- World's Healthiest Foods:Tomatoes
Based in the southeastern United States, Annabelle Brown began writing in 2000. She specializes in health, nutrition, education and pets. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Tech and is pursuing a Master of Science in English from Radford University and a Master of Education at Wright State University.