It’s a pretty scary fact that a large majority of people around the world die from thrombosis, which is blood clots that cause heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism, and if you have diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, this increases the risk more so.
Blood clots (thrombosis) claim one Australian life every 10 minutes, so by taking action now to keep these blood cells coursing through the veins and by knowing the risks, you can turn this around. People with a body mass index greater than 30 are up to four times more likely to develop blood clots (thrombosis). This is because high blood pressure and cholesterol common in overweight people make their blood inclined to clot. This may be linked to a sedentary lifestyle combined with factors such as co-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and or diabetes.
If you are overweight, losing just a few kilos can reduce your risk of clotting and getting down to a healthy weight range will halve your risk. A reduced fat, high fibre, healthy diet and good blood glucose control will also help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and the associated ‘stickiness’ of the blood.
There’s plenty you can do in the meantime – the first thing you need to do, is see a doctor or dietician and, if possible, an exercise physiologist for a healthy eating plan and exercise guidance. Medication to thin the blood and reduce high blood pressure or cholesterol may be necessary. Finally, one simple step you can take is to include these foods to combat thrombosis risk and improve heart health.
Tomatoes – Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their red colour and has anti-clotting properties. Its release is aided by cooking tomatoes in a little olive oil.
Fish oil – Found in oily fish, such as tuna and salmon or supplements, it contains omega 3’s and lowers cholesterol plus the risk of blood clots.
Kiwi fruit – Eating 2-3 per day can help thin the blood and may also lower blood triglyceride levels. It has a similar impact to aspirin without the side effects.
Capsicum – Studies suggest capsicum may lower the level of the protein fibrin in the blood, reducing the chance of blood clots and circulatory disease.
Chocolate – A little dark chocolate daily has been shown to thin the blood, but eat too much and the saturated fats may increase your risk!
Eggs – The protein in eggs act to slow down the process that leads to the formation of blood clots.
Water – Keeping up your fluids is a vital element in maintaining good circulation and blood flow.
Tea – Some evidence suggests Tea may act as an anti-blood clotting agent and improve blood vessel dilation to allow better blood flow.
Alcohol – Drinking a little alcohol, particularly wine, can reduce some cardiovascular disease risk factors and break down small blood clots.
Onions, Garlic and Ginger – These can ward off thrombosis by reducing the protein fibrin and as well as platelets that cause blood stickiness.
Adopting a healthy diet and active lifestyle should be your first step towards balancing the scales in your favour. The earlier you identify and deal with the risk of thrombosis, the better your chance of avoiding it.